'The decision to auction the bronze medal is a painful one but we are left with few options as the state government has reneged on its promise to build the academy.'
The family of Khashaba Jadhav, who won India's first individual Olympic medal, has put it up for auction to garner funds for building a wrestling academy named after him.
"The decision to auction the bronze medal is a painful one but we are left with few options as the state government has reneged on its promise to build the academy," Ranjit Jadhav, son of the famous wrestler, said over phone from Satara district in western Maharashtra, on Tuesday.
"In 2009, at a wrestling event in Jalgaon, then state sports minister Dilip Deshmukh had announced that the government would set up a national-level wrestling academy, named after my late father, in Satara district," Ranjit said.
"After eight years, nothing has materialised. In December 2013, Rs 1.58 crore were sanctioned for the project. But the project has failed to take shape," he said.
In the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, Khashaba Jadhav, then 27, went on to create history by claiming bronze to become the first Indian to win an Olympic medal in an individual sport.
The hockey team led by Balbir Singh had won India its first gold in the 1948 London Olympics.
"My father was an introvert and never marketed his achievements. He was alive till 1984 but the government didn't felicitate him with an Arjuna Award, which came his way 16 years after his death. Why can't we honour accomplished people when they are alive?" asked Ranjit.
IMAGE: A young Khashaba Jhadhav and the Olympic bronze medal he won in the 1952 Games.
Photograph: Rediff Archives