Jadhav’s feat in Helsinki

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Since its debut in the 1920 Antwerp Olympics, India has taken a long time to make its mark in the sport.

Independent India’s first individual Olympics medal came from wrestling when K.D. Jadhav secured a flyweight bronze at Helsinki in 1952.

Despite a rich wrestling tradition, India could not make an impression for several decades as some of its grapplers narrowly missed out on medals.

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Missing out

Randhir Shindes (featherweight, 1920), Sudesh Kumar (flyweight, 1972), Prem Nath (bantamweight, 1972), Jagmender Singh (lightweight, 1980) and Rajinder Singh (welterweight, 1984) finished fourth when just the top three medals were awarded.

Indian freestyle wrestlers began to shine in the quadrennial event after rules changed to give two bronze medals, via repechage rounds, in each weight division from the 2008 Games.

Going one better

56 years after Jadhav’s feat, Sushil Kumar surprised all claiming a bronze medal in 66kg at Beijing. By bagging a silver in 2012, Sushil became the first Indian to take two individual Olympic medals. Yogeshwar Dutt’s bronze in 60kg in London raised the profile of the sport.

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Four years later in the Rio Games, Sakshi Malik picked up a bronze in the 58kg weight class.

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