Despite Norman Pritchard’s twin medals in Paris 1900, India had not sent a representative at the Olympics before the Great War. It was only after the Great War got over that they resumed, at Antwerp 1920. This time they sent three runners and two freestyle wrestlers, all Indian male. None of them won a medal. India at the Olympic Games Part 1, 1900 Paris: Norman Pritchard, India’s First-Ever Olympian.
The idea was the brainchild of Dorabji Tata, president of the Deccan Gymkhana, Poona. The five participants were chosen through trials. The final contingency went to Antwerp via England, where they trained for six weeks at Stamford Bridge.
Of the athletes, Purma Banerjee did not make to the final in either of his events. He finished fifth in the heat of 100m and fourth in 400m. Phadeppa Chaugule did not finish the semi-finals of the 10,000m, but came 19th in the marathon. Sadashiv Datar was unable to finish the marathon, his only event. Tokyo Olympics 2020: From Mary Kom to PV Sindhu, Here Are India’s 10 Prospective Medal Winners at the Summer Games.
Of the wrestlers, Kumar Navale lost to Charley Johnson of the United States in the Round of 16 in the middleweight category. However, Randhir Shindes, the featherweight representative, fared better. After getting a bye in the Round of 16, Shindes beat Henry Inman of Great Britain in the quarter-finals to make it to the top four.
One more win here would have made Shindes the first person of Indian origin to win an Olympics medal. But Shindes lost the semi-final to Sam Gerson of the United States. He also lost the bronze medal match to Bernard Bernard of Great Britain.
(The above story first appeared on Onhike on Jul 17, 2021 04:34 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website onhike.com).