Padma Shri Murlikant Rajaram Petkar

Born : 1st November 1947; Peth Islampur, Sangli District, Maharashtra.

padma shree murlikant petkar

Among his many recognizable feats, the most extraordinary one is that Padma Shri Murlikant Petkar brought India its First ever Olympic Gold Medal in the Summer Paralympics held at Heidelberg, Germany in the August of 1972. At the same event, he had also created a new world record in 50 M Freestyle swimming (37.33 seconds).

Throughout his sporting career he has won laurels for the country at events like the Stoke Mandeville International Paraplegic Meets held in England where he consistently outdid his own records and won the General Championship Cup for 5 consecutive years (1969-73); the 3 rd Commonwealth Paraplegic Games held at Edinburgh, Scotland where he bagged Gold in 50 M Freestyle Swimming, Silver in Javelin Throw and Bronze in Shot-put; the International FESPIC Games in Hong Kong in 1982 where he created another world record in 50 M Swimming, among others.


Courage Beyond Compare

Mr Petkar has overcome innumerable odds in his extraordinary career as a professional sportsman. He has been extensively covered by international and national media for his various feats. Recently featured in the book "Courage Beyond Compare", he is now going to be the subject of a biopic based on his many struggles and his extraordinary resilience in conquering them all.


The Beginning

Mr Petkar’s love for the sports shone through in his early schooling years as he excelled at sports like wrestling, hockey and athletics. On being enrolled in the Boys Battalion of the Indian Army in Pune, he soon established himself as a strong sportsperson and excelled at every sport he tried a hand at. In 1964 he was chosen to represent Indian Army in Boxing at the International Services Sports Meet to be held at Tokyo, Japan. On returning, he was transferred to Secunderabad where he started training to be an armorer along with preparing himself for the Nationals.

Indo-Pak War

Unfortunately this star player found himself at the onset of the 1965 Indo-Pak War at the Sialkot Sector while he was in Kashmir. Petkar suffered multiple gunshot wounds, was run over by a car, lost his memory and as a blaring reminder of the horrific incidence still has a bullet lodged in his spine. However, showing extraordinary courage, he made significant recovery over the next two years.

A National Champion

In 1967, he became the Maharashtra State Champion in Shot-Put, Javelin throw, Discuss Throw, Weight Lifting, Table Tennis and Archery. He consistently kept moving upwards from becoming a state champion to a national one and soon enough representing the country in more than one sport at various international sports meets.

Shiv Chhatrapati Award

Maharashtra’s highest sporting award, the Shiv Chhatrapati Award has also been awarded to him at the hands of Nawab Ali Yawar Jung, then Governor of Maharashtra, in 1975. This was in light of his various athletic achievements and the fact that he was the National Champion for 7 Years straight from 1968-76, for which he was also given special recognition by then Mayor of Pune, Mr Thorat.

Mr Petkar’s love for the sports shone through in his early schooling years as he excelled at sports like wrestling, hockey and athletics. On being enrolled in the Boys Battalion of the Indian Army in Pune, he soon established himself as a strong sportsperson and excelled at every sport he tried a hand at. In 1964 he was chosen to represent Indian Army in Boxing at the International Services Sports Meet to be held at Tokyo, Japan. On returning, he was transferred to Secunderabad where he started training to be an armorer along with preparing himself for the Nationals.

Service Continues

In 1972, he began working in TELCO, Pune where he is now at the post of Senior Assistant in the Public Relation Department. In spite of having been a loyal serviceman and an athlete extraordinaire, Mr. Petkar has been subject to injustices on both political and social level, yet his contribution to the field and the subsequent honour which he deserves remain indubitable.

Awards & Felicitations

Year Honor
1981 Was presented the Outstanding Sportsman Award by the Mayor of Pune.
1979 Awarded Krida Pratishthan on April 5, 1979 for being an outstanding sportsman by Shri Vijay Merchant at Bombay.
1976 Honoured by the president of all India Mayors Council, Mr. Thorat for being the National Champion for 7 Years straight (1968-76) and felicitated on 26th January at Pune
1975 Received the Shiv Chattrapati Award of the Maharashtra Government at the hands of Nawab Ali Yawar Jung. This was the first instance of paraplegic sportsman receiving the said award.
1975 Awarded Special Prize for outstanding performance by Pune Jaycees
1973 Received the Gaurav Padak by then Mayor of Pune N. B. Limaye
1971 Awarded Best Swimmer Shield by Gen Manekshaw AT Bombay, Chief of Army Staff of Artificial Limb Centre Pune.
1965 Raksha Medal.
Year Achievement
1981 Two Golds – Swimming and Shot-put at games organized on the occasion of 22ND World Day of the Disabled.
1980 Two Golds – Swimming and Shot-put at sports meet on 21ST World Day of the Disabled held at Bombay.
1979 Two Golds – in 50 M freestyle Swimming and Shot-put on occasion of 20TH World Day of the Disabled.
1978 Three Golds at Maharashtra State Paraplegic Sports Meet on occasion of World Day of the Disabled.
1976 Won Individual Championship at Maharashtra State Paraplegic Games.
1975 Three Golds - one for Shot-put, Javelin Throw and Swimming at the Maharashtra State Competition held at Bombay.
1973 Three Golds for Shot-put, Javelin Throw and Discuss Throw respectively; three Golds in Swimming and a Silver for Wheel Chair Race at Sports meet held at Bombay.
1969 Maharashtra State Champion in Shot-Put, Javelin throw, Discuss Throw, Weight Lifting, Table Tennis and Archery.
1968 Maharashtra State Champion in Shot-Put, Javelin throw, Discuss Throw, Weight Lifting, Table Tennis and Individual Champion.
1967 Maharashtra State Champion in Shot-put, Javelin throw, Discuss Throw, Weight Lifting, Table Tennis and Archery.
Year Achievement
1988 Silver in 30 M Freestyle Swimming at National Wheelchair Sports for the Paraplegics.
1985 Two Golds in Shot-put and 50 M Freestyle Swimming at the 4th National Sports for the Handicapped held at New Delhi (Nehru Stadium).
1984 Two Golds in Swimming and Javelin Throw respectively at Bombay on occasion of World Day of the Disabled.
1983 Two Golds in Swimming and Shot-put respectively at the Chandigarh National Handicapped Sports Meet.
1981 Two Golds in 50 M Freestyle Swimming and Shot-put respectively at the National Sports meet for the handicapped held at Ahmadabad, organized by the National Society for Equal Opportunity for the Handicapped.

Two Golds in Shot-Put and Wheelchair Race respectively at the Maharashtra Athletic Sports Meet, Games and Aquatic Competition by National Society for Equal Opportunities for the Handicapped on the occasion of 22nd World Day of the Disabled.
1980 Three Golds in 50 M Freestyle Swimming, Shot-put and Swimming Relay, a Silver in Javelin Throw and a Bronze in the Wheelchair Race at the National Sports for Paraplegic at Pune.
1979 Two Golds in 50 M Freestyle Swimming and Shot-put respectively on occasion of 20th World Day of the Disabled.
1978 Four Golds at the National Paraplegic Sports held at Paraplegic Home Kirkee, Pune.
1977 Four Golds in 50 M Freestyle Swimming, 50 M Breast Stroke, Shot-put and Javelin Throw respectively at 18th World Day of the Disabled Sports Meet.
1976 Participated in the 17th World Day of the Disabled sports meet.
1975 Three Golds in 50 M Freestyle Swimming, Javelin Throw and Shot-put respectively at 1st National Sports for the disabled held At Bangalore.
1974 Three Golds, one each for Free Style Swimming, Shot-put and Discuss Throw at the 15th World Day of the Disabled Meet held at Bombay.
1973 Two Golds in Swimming, one Gold each in Shot-put, Javelin Throw and Discuss Throw, 2nd place in Table Tennis and Obstacle Race at The Third Sports Festival for the Physically Handicapped on occasion of 14TH World Day of Disabled at Bangalore.
1973 Bronze in 4x400mt Freestyle Relay at Poona Region Amateur Athletic Association meet.
1973 Two Golds in Swimming, one Gold each in Shot-put, Javelin Throw and Discuss Throw, 2nd place in Table Tennis and Obstacle Race at The Third Sports Festival for the Physically Handicapped on occasion of 14TH World Day of Disabled at Bangalore.
1969 Overall Champion at the 10th World Day for the Disabled Sports Meet, excelling at Shot-put, Javelin Throw, Discuss Throw, Weight Lifting, Table Tennis and Archery.
Year Achievement
1982 Gold and another world record in 50 M Swimming as also a Bronze Medal in Javelin Throw at the International FESPIC Games in Hong Kong.
1976 Represented India at the Paralympics held at Toronto Canada in August 1976.
1975 Gold and another world record in Swimming at Stoke Mandeville International Paraplegic Meet, UK. Also won Silver in Shot-put.
1972 Gold medal, as well as a new world record (37.33 seconds) in 50 M Swimming at the Summer Paralympics held at Heidelberg, Germany.
1971 Gold in 50 M Freestyle Swimming and Silver in Javelin Throw at Stoke Mandeville, England.
1970 Gold in 50 M Freestyle Swimming, Silver in Javelin Throw and Bronze in Shot-put at the 3rd Commonwealth Paraplegic Games held at Edinburgh, Scotland. Was felicitated by then PM of England, Edward Heath.
1969 Gold in 50 M Freestyle Swimming at Stoke Mandeville International Paraplegic Meet (England). Mr. Petkar also won the General Championship Cup for 5 years straight from 1969-73.
1968 Gold in the Paraplegic category for 50 M Swimming at the International Games at Moscow.
1964 Participated in Flyweight Boxing at Service Sports meet at Tokyo, Japan.