Olympic medal for Kabaddi? Yes it happened. The gold medal at the Olympics has always eluded India. Hockey was one sport that used to bring glory for the country. How often we have this idea that Kabaddi is one sport that can achieve the feat at the quadrennial showpiece event. But with barely a handful of countries playing India’ indigenous sport, the route to glory will be long and onerous. However, with the success of the recently concluded Kabaddi World Cup, the International Kabaddi Federation (IKF), the world body governing the sport, has seen the silver lining. But you will be surprised to know that the sport had its moment of glory at the 1936 Berlin Games when a little-known educational institute in Maharashtra’s Amravati called the Hanuman Vyayam Prasarak Mandal (HVPM) was invited to give demonstrations of disciplines like mallakhamb and kabaddi, a media report said.
Controversial 1936 Berlin Olympics, which was used by Fascist Führer Adolf Hitler to promote his pet theory of Aryan supremacy, is also known for India’s hockey gold medal win which is still being counted as amongst India’s greatest sporting moments.
HVPM’s vice president, Dr Siddhanath Kane, saw the Berlin Games as a perfect platform to popularise Indian physical education techniques. So he wrote to Carl Diem, the chief organiser of the Berlin Olympics, expressing his institute’s wish to do demonstrations during the Olympics. After a few letters were exchanged, Diem agreed, the HT report said.
Convincing the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) also did not prove to be a roadblock as Kane served on its Executive Committee. And so it was that the HVPM sent an unofficial 35-member contingent to Berlin, the report said.
News of the unofficial contingent soon reached the Führer through his Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels. “Adolf Hitler granted the unofficial contingent a 20-minute audience. He asked my father ‘Does the contingent you brought here represent average Indians?’ On the last day of the Olympics, Hitler gave the visiting contingent a medal,” said Kane’s son, Padmakar Kane.
So, we can hope for the repeat of this milestone achievement and to see the tricolour fly high!