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Sep 17, 2011

Wrestler Harishchandra Birajdar dies at 73

Indian Express 
Wrestler Harishchandra Birajdar, who won the gold in the 1970 Commonwealth Games, died at Ruby Hall Clinic here early on Wednesday morning. He was 73 and is survived by sons Sagar and Rahul.

A recipient of Hind Kesari in 1969 and Rustam-E-Hind in 1972, Birajdar has been battling heart-related ailments for the past six months.

“He was always a down-to-earth simple human being who wanted to promote wrestling amongst the masses. Even after having been honoured with so many awards and recognitions, he was a humble human being,” said Ganpatrao Khedkar, under whose tutelage Birajdar wrestled from 1965 to 1981. “Even when he started off in 1965, he had this singular goal of becoming a wrestler and representing the state.”

Birajdar hailed from Ramling Mudgad village of Latur. Mayor Mohan Singh Rajpal and former Mayor Vandana Chavan were among those who attended the funeral. Vasudev Khedkar, who wrestled along with Birajdar, said his style of wrestling was unconventional.

“He would exercise every day. He always said a wrestler should exercise on a daily basis and not just practise before major tournaments.”

Khedkar said Birajdar was so successful in the wrestling ring as he always watched his opponents carefully. “He would always say, keep an eye on where your opponent is looking and then attack him, it always helps to take him with surprise.”

Vishal Bandare, another wrestler who trained with him in the 80s, said he was a strict vegetarian and he would not tolerate any student not practising and exercising. “When he was wrestling, he beat some of the best in the country. His love for the game was evident from that he worked as a coach at the Gokul Vastad Talim in Bhavani Peth.”

Birajdar was honoured with the Dhyanchand Award in 2006 and Dadoji Konddev Award in 1998. He had defeated well-known wrestler Satpal in a 1977 bout, which brought him into limelight.

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