Pune, 3rd December 2023: On the occasion of the World Disability Day, Sport Climbing Association of Maharashtra commemorated the 51st anniversary of a landmark event in Indian sports history at Raaga Palace, Pune.
The occasion marked the day when Murlikant Rajaram Petkar, a retired Craftsman and Padma Shri Awardee, clinched India’s first-ever Paralympic Gold Medal at the 1972 Heidelberg Paralympics. The felicitation event was attended by Lieutenant General Ajai Kumar Singh, General Officer Commanding in Chief, Southern Command, decorated military officer, along with distinguished personalities from Maharashtra including Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Awardees, Arjuna Awardees, and Shiv Chhatrapati Awardees.
The ceremony highlighted Petkar’s extraordinary journey from rural Maharashtra’s wrestling arenas to international sports acclaim. Overcoming severe injuries sustained in the 1965 Indo-Pak War, Petkar’s indomitable spirit led him to a historic victory in swimming at the 1972 Summer Paralympics. His career is decorated with an awe-inspiring collection of 12 International Golds, 34 National Golds, and 40 State Golds. His achievements transcend mere numbers and place him in the realm of sports legends.
Lt Gen Ajai Kumar Singh led the ceremony with the traditional Deep Prajwalan, followed by a puja of the original medal and the distribution of ten Gold Medal replicas. The event was further ennobled by a heartfelt tribute from the Army Commander, who extolled Petkar as a titan of dedication, resilience, and unparalleled achievement.
The ceremony concluded with Vote of thanks by Brig M P Yadav, VSM (Retd) sharing tales of valour and triumph, captivating the audience with Petkar’s life story. This saga of resilience and triumph will soon reach a wider audience through the upcoming film ‘Chandu Champion’, starring Kartik Aaryan, which portrays Petkar’s monumental achievements and his inspiring journey in Indian sports history.