Murlikant Petkar

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From being a teenager who joined the Indian Army to becoming the man who won the first-ever Paralympic medal for India; this is the story of a sportsman and a soldier, Murlikant Petkar.

• Born on November 1, 1947, at Peth Islampur in the Sangli district of Maharashtra, Murlikant has been a sportsman from his childhood. He joined the Indian Army at an early age, with a post of Private in the Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers.

• He had a natural gift for boxing and was also selected to represent India in Boxing at the International Services Sports meet in Tokyo in 1964.

• During the Indo-Pak war of 1965, he got badly injured and was disabled because of those injuries. He took 7 bullets, one of which is still there in his spinal cord. Due to these injuries, the lower half of his body was paralyzed.

• But this didn’t break his spirit. Although he had to give up boxing, he took up swimming, javelin and a few other sports too. In the Summer Paralympics of 1968, Petkar represented India in Table Tennis and cleared the first round.

• It was during the Summer Paralympics of 1972 which was held in Heidelberg Germany that he won the first-ever Paralympics medal for India, which was a gold medal in 50m freestyle swimming. His finishing time of 37.33 seconds was also noted as the world record at that time.

• He won a total of 4 international medals for India in 3 different sports, including 2 gold medals in 50m freestyle swimming, 1 silver medal in javelin throw, and 1 bronze medal in shot-put.

• Murlikant Petkar was awarded Padma Shri in the year 2018 for his great achievements in the area of sports and his contributions to the country. He was also awarded Maharashtra’s highest sporting award in 1975, the Shiv Chhatrapati Award.

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