Pune: On Monday, the Olympic Day was celebrated in Pune with a host of activity that revolved around ten disciplines and included traditional sports. The day-long celebration was conducted by Maharashtra Olympic Association (MOA), an affiliate of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and was graced by a host of state and city-born Olympians, Arjuna Awardees (Highest award handed to an Indian sportsperson) and representatives of sports associations.
With the historic Shanirwada Fort chosen as the start-point for the Olympic Day Run it was 23-year old Kolhapur-born London Olympics markswoman Rahi Sarnobot who was given the honour to light the traditional torch.
A breathtaking display of martial arts, taekwondo dance, wushu, jump rope, traditional sports and equestrian riders was followed by the run that had sportspersons of all age groups participate.
The host of Olympians and Arjuna awardees present were felicitated by Ajit Pawar, deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, who is also the president of MOA.
Olympians present were; Balkrishnan Akotkar (1964 Tokyo, marathon), Anthony Coutinho (1964 Tokyo, 4x100m relay), Banda Patil (1964 Tokyo, wrestling), Maruti Adkar (1972 Munich, wrestling), Dhanraj Pillay (1992 Barcelona, 1996 Atlanta, 2000 Sydney, 2004 Athens, hockey), Manoj Pingle (1988 Seoul, boxing) and Nikhil Kanetkar (2004 Athens, badminton). The Arjuna Awardees included; Shantaram Jadhav (kabaddi), Gopal Devang (boxing), Shrirang Inamdar (kho-kho), Ramesh Tawde (athletics).
Relatives of former Olympians; Ranjit Jadhav (son of Late Kashaba Jadhav – Freestyle wrestling bronze medalist at 1952 Helsinki Games) and Ajitbabu Nimal (Late and Baboo Nimal – Member of Indian team which won gold medal at 1936 Olympic Games) were also present.