Pune: Wrestler Harishchandra Birajdar, who won a gold at the 1970 Commonwealth Games, passed away early Wednesday in a private hospital here after a brief illness, a family friend said.

He was 73. Born in Ramling Mudgad village in Nilanga sub-district of Latur, Birajdar was trained in wrestling by his father since he was 8-year-old.

He went on to earn many laurels for the country, which honoured him with several awards like Hind Kesari, Rustom-E-Hind, the Shiv Chhatrapati Award, the Dadoji Konddev Award and the Dhyanchand Award.

Having strong opinions about the neglect of traditional sports and prominence given to cricket, Birajdar was engaged in training several national level wrestling champions.

His funeral will be held in his native village Thursday.

(Agencies)