P D Chaugule who? Karnataka govt asks, 100 years on

P D Chaugule who? Karnataka govt asks, 100 years on

PD Chaugule. Olympicchannel

It’s been one hundred years since Phadeppa Dareppa Chaugule, an athlete from Belagavi, became the first from Karnataka to represent India at the Olympics. Shockingly, the state government has no record of this feat even though the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and International Olympic Committee (IOC) maintain records of his participation in the marathon race at the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp where he was part of a six-member Indian team.  

In a written reply to the Legislative Assembly, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa said the government had no record of the athlete.   

In an unstarred question, Belgaum South legislator Abhay Patil asked whether the state government was aware of Chaugule’s achievement. “It has been 100 years since PD Chaugule’s achievement. Does the state government have any intention of celebrating the centenary,” Patil further sought to know.

In response, the government said it would get information from the Indian Olympics Association and the Karnataka Olympics Association before taking any decision in this regard. 

The Indian Olympic Association officially recognises Norman Pritchard, an anglo-Indian, as the first participant from India to take part in modern Olympic Games in Paris in 1900. Pritchard competed in the men’s 200 meters race and 200 meters hurdles, finishing second in both events. Two decades later, Chaugule was among the team of five sportsmen representing India in the Olympics hosted by Belgium.

According to Bipinchandra Chaugule, PD Chaugule’s grand-nephew, his grand uncle was the only one among the team who completed the event and ranked 19th, which makes it a feat worth recognition. 

Bipinchandra is a Pune-based filmmaker who has been documenting all evidence in this regard since 1991.

Speaking to DH, Bipinchandra said he was ready to present any documentation for the state government to officially recognise the achievement of the athlete. He visited the headquarters of the IOC in Lausanne, Switzerland from where he brought copies of all related documents.

Thanks to Bipinchandra’s efforts, the IOA has added these records on their official website. “Several people in Belagavi are keen on seeing a monument in his name. A sports institute, an athletics academy or even an award commemorating his effort would be a good way to recognise PD Chaugule’s achievement,” he emphasised.

Today, Bipin maintains a Facebook page in his grand-uncle’s name, where he has uploaded several records, including newspaper articles, related to the Olympics.

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