Pune, Oct 24 (UNI) Former Hind-Kesari awardee Ganpat Andalkar of Kolhapur was felicitated with the 'Lokmanagal' award by the Lokmanagal Pratistahn at the Yeshwantrao Chavan auditorium here today.
The noted grappler is the first sportsperson to be felicitated by the Pratisthan, which honours the distinguished personalities from various walks of life who serve the society selflessly.
Andalkar was given Rs 5,000 cash award, a citation and a momento.
An additional purse of Rs 28,000 was also presented to the 1962 Jakarta Asian Games gold medallist by his city-based disciples from the wrestling field. His wife was also felicitated on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, the 1962 Arjuna awardee said it is a wrong notion that wrestlers do not have brains only brawns. The modern-day grapplers not only have to have the supreme physique but agility and above all, the ability to think fast to counter the opponent in the stipulated five minutes bout.
Taking a dig at the politicians, he said they promise lot of things but do nothing for the sportspersons.
Wrestling is an ancient sport and India has produced a large number of grapplers, who have made the country proud in various sporting events like the Olympics, the Asian Games and the World championships, he said, adding, Khashaba Jadhav was the first Indian to win the bronze medal in the 1952 Helsinki Olympic games and since then the trend continuned.
Andalkar presently runs a wrestling academy in Kolhapur and has trained 3,000 grapplers so far.
Also present on the occasion were former Hind-Kesari awardee Harishchander Birajdar and Yogesh Dodke, and last year's Maharashtra Kesari title winner Amol Buchade among others.