“I raised India’s prestige internationally with my win but here no one cares. Whether someone watches or not, I have done my work.” – Virender Singh
The truth of discrimination on the basis of caste, gender, and physical ability has always been there and Virender Singh seems to be one of the victims of same. Virender Singh, famously known as ‘The silent king of the Dangal’ has won 3 Deaflympics Gold Medals and a Bronze Medal in 4 appearances. However, even after his successes, he has been consistently ignored for top sporting honors and cash awards for much of his career. This has pushed Virender Singh (Goonga Pehelwan) and athletes of his kind into the background and financially difficult circumstances.
Virender Singh, born on April 1, 1986, is an Indian freestyle wrestler. He was born to a farmers’ family of Sasroli village, near Jhajjar in Haryana. His father, Ajit Singh was a CISF Jawan as well as a wrestler which was passed to him as a family tradition. Virendra being a deaf child since birth had to go through a lot of bullying in his childhood days. He started taking interest in the wrestling after seeing his uncle and father feel less distracted by what people say. He started training at the CISF akhada at the age of 9 under the guidance of Surinder Pehelwan, his uncle. He was then coached by Dronacharya Awardee Coaches Maha Singh Rao and Ramphal Singh. His family, even being in poor condition fully supported him with proper dietary Supplements.
Virender tasted his first success at the National Rounds of the World Cadet Wrestling Championships in 2002 by winning the Gold Medal. With this win, he was directly qualified for the world event but Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) unfairly disqualified him from going to the World event, citing his deafness as the reason. However, afterward, it was known that WFI has sent the silver medalist to the event after ignoring the gold medalist Virender. He did not lose hope and participated in 2005 Summer Deaflympics in Melbourne, Australia bagging a Gold medal. After this, he went on representing India at many events and has always made his country proud. Here are some of the career highlights of his career.
Virender Singh also became the subject of a 45-minute documentary titled, Goonga Pehelwan that went on winning the highest Indian film honor, National Film Award in the year 2015. However, with all this success, he is undergoing a lot of financial crisis due to the ignorance of Government and Sports authorities to the deaf games. Virender is even forced to sponsor his own ticket to the games in which he participates. He participates in dangals for money to support his training and family. Virender had started coaching the kids in his village, Sasroli to earn his living. He feels helpless due to the monetary crisis as he cannot afford to buy a house.
“I want to help my father repair our ancestral home. Everyone gets crores. I’m no less than anyone. I’ve fought and beaten most ‘normal’ wrestlers.” – Virender Singh
Virender Singh is really different as said for any disabled, not because of her disability but due to her determination of living life to the fullest. He has proved to the world that disability can never come in the way of success. Virender Singh is a living example of what we can say as facing the adversity to test the one’s character and determination. However, through this article, we would like to reach his story to every corner of this world and also to the ears of those who are in question. It is not only to repair the roof over his top but also to respect his achievements and to motivate more and more deaf and disabled people to come out and bring laurels to India.
“A dream does not become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work” – Colin Powell
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