A jam-packed stadium, referees whistle, and fans cheering from stands and in between all this stood a man who was standing tall and was smiling after winning the wrestling match but still couldn’t hear the sounds of people cheering around him.
Meet Virender Singh, better known as Goonga Pahalwan—literally “mute wrestler”—is one of India’s most successful athletes. Singh has won a medal at each of the five international competitions he has participated in, including a gold each at the 2005 and 2013 Deaflympics, which are sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee.
Inspite of so much success recognition and financial benefits have been hard to come by for the Haryana wrestle as he continues to toil with little reward.
Speaking to Sportswallah Virender’s brother Rambir Singh said ” It has been 13 years since he has been struggling to get the recognition for himself. He won the gold medal in 2005 Melbourne Deaflympics when Mr Sunil Dutt was the sports minister and after him, he has met several other sports ministers but is yet to get the recognition. The athletes who won medals in the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, and Para Asian Games were rewarded by the sports minister and also given recognition”.
In 2016 the central government placed him in the Dumb category instead of para-athlete category, which is sad news for any wrestler who has won medals t various competitions which also includes Bharat Kesari.
“Central government placed him in the dumb category but according to the rules of the government he should be placed in the para-athlete category. Even Haryana government went along with the decision and placed him in the same category” said Rambir.
“During Manohar Lal Khattar’s government, Goonga Pehelwan was supposed to get Rs 6 crore before leaving for his third Deaflympics, but he only got 1 crore 20 lakhs out of which 1 crore 10 lakhs went in repaying the loans,” he said.
In 2016 he was honored with Arjuna Award but inspite of that he is yet to receive the cash prize as equivalent to that of normal athletes. ” When he was given the Arjuna Award just like normal athletes then why is he not given the same amount of cash prize as they get? even his medals which he won at World Championship and Asiad is still not been considered”.
With lack of recognition, the wrestler is now thinking to take on the streets and take his case to court. ” If the government doesn’t solve our problems quickly we will come on streets and go to court to get the deserved recognition”. Rambir said
He further said” he is deeply hurt due to government’s ignorance towards him. He is not able to say anything, but when we go for practice early morning sometimes i can see tears rolling down his eyes, so now you can figure out how disappointing he is”.
Singh got some attention when a trio of young filmmakers—Vivek Chaudhary, Mit Jani and Prateek Gupta—shot a documentary on him, titled Goonga Pehelwan, which has been screened at various festivals across the country but inspite of that his fight with the government continues to get what the thing he deserves.
Learn more about his story in an exclusive interview here:
Virender Singh – Goonga Pehelwan ने सरकार से अपने अधिकार की लगाई गुहार। वीडियो के ज़रिए जानिए देश को कई मेडल दिलाने वाले गूंगा पहलवान आख़िर क्यों है सरकार से नाखुश।#GoongaSarkar
Sportswallah Hindi ಅವರಿಂದ ಈ ದಿನದಂದು ಪೋಸ್ಟ್ ಮಾಡಲಾಗಿದೆ ಶನಿವಾರ, ನವೆಂಬರ್ 17, 2018