HomeAthletesGoonga Pehelwan Biography: Inspiring Yet Heart-Wrenching Journey of “King of all Dangals’
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Goonga Pehelwan Biography: Inspiring Yet Heart-Wrenching Journey of “King of all Dangals’

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Goonga Pahalwan aka Virender Singh is an Indian freestyle wrestler but what makes his achievements special is his disability to speak and hear. In spite of all odds, he has won three gold medals and a bronze medal in the Deaflympics. The national coaches rate him as one of India’s best wrestlers but the federation has never given him a chance to qualify for Olympics citing his disability.

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He has fought against India’s most celebrated wrestler, Sushil Kumar on five occasions during his practice sessions in Delhi but Sushil wasn’t able to get the better of Virender even once. Every single one of the five fights ended in draws.

About Virender Singh (Goonga Pehelwan)

Source: mensxp
Field Information
Birth name Virender Singh Yadav
Nationality Indian
Born 1 April 1986 (age 37)
Place of Birth Sasroli, Jhajjar, Haryana
Website virendersinghwrestler.com
Country India
Sport Men’s Wrestling
Deaflympics
Gold 2005 Melbourne Freestyle 84kg
Bronze 2009 Taiwan Freestyle 84kg
Gold 2013 Bulgaria Freestyle 74kg
Gold 2017 Turkey Freestyle 74kg
World Deaf Wrestling Championship
Silver 2008 Armenia
Bronze 2012 Bulgaria
Gold 2016 Iran

Early Life of Virender Singh

Virender Singh was born on 1 April 1986 to a family of farmers in Sasroli village, near Jhajjar in Haryana. His father, Ajit Singh was a CISF Jawan, while his mother Manna Devi, a homemaker.

He took to wrestling after being inspired by his father and uncle, who too were wrestlers. His uncle Surinder Pehelwan brought him to Delhi to live at the CISF akhara where he developed a liking towards wrestling by watching his father and uncle wrestle. At the age of 9, he started his training. Singh trained at major wrestling akharas, namely the Chhatrasal Stadium and Guru Hanuman akhara. Later he started training under Dronacharya Awardee Coaches Maha Singh Rao and Ramphal Singh.

Virender Singh Career

Virender first tasted success at the National Rounds of the World Cadet Wrestling Championships in 2002, where he won the Gold Medal. The Gold medal meant he would directly qualify for the world event but he was disqualified by the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), citing his deafness.

Goonga Pehelwan aka Virender Singh Biography | KreedOn

In 2005 at the Summer Deaflympics in Melbourne, Australia, he won his first Gold medal at the international stage and since then there was no looking back. He clinched a Silver medal in the World Deaf Wrestling Championships in Armenia in 2008. In the 2009 Summer Deaflympics, he bagged the Bronze in Taipei, China.

At the 2012 World Deaf Wrestling Championships, he won a bronze in Sofia, Bulgaria. Again, at the 2013 Summer Deaflympics, his stellar performance earned him a Gold Medal. He followed it up with another gold medal at the 2016 World Deaf Wrestling Championships in Tehran, Iran. The Goonga Pehelwan made a hat-trick of Gold medals at the 2017 Summer Deaflympics in Samsun, Turkey.


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Virender Singh Yadav was honored with the Arjuna Award in recognition of his remarkable contribution to Indian sports. Additionally, he achieved the distinction of receiving the Padma Shri for his accomplishments in the field of sports in the year 2021.

Challenges

Goonga Pehelwan aka Virender Singh Biography | KreedOn
Image Source- TOI

Virender was completely ignored by the state and central sports authorities. He made his living by engaging in unprofessional domestic dangals with pehelwans who were almost twice his size, earning sums ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 1,00,000. In 2016 the central government placed him in the Dumb category instead of para-athlete category, which is definitely a sad news for any wrestler who has won medals at various competitions, including Bharat Kesari. Also when he was given the Arjuna Award just like normal athletes, he wasn’t given the same prize money as them, told his brother.

Before he left for the Deaflympics in 2017, he was promised a hefty reward will on 15 August – Independence Day. They had even promised Virender an A-Grade job along with a reward of Rs.1.5 crore, said his father. But ever since he returned victoriously, practically every single individual has turned their back on them including the Chief Minister of Haryana, Manohar Lal Khattar. Singh is presently employed with the Sports Authority of India as a Junior Sports Coach training the next generation of wrestlers.

‘Goonga Pehelwan’ Documentary

Goonga Pehelwan aka Virender Singh Biography | KreedOn
Image Source- IMDb

Young filmmakers – Vivek Chaudhary, Mit Jani and Prateek Gupta—shot a documentary on Virender Singh, titled Goonga Pehelwan. The 45-minute documentary was screened at various film festivals across the globe. It received the highest Indian film honour, National Film Award in the year 2015.


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Goonga Pehelwan: Achievements

Deaflympics

  • 2005 Melbourne – Gold Medal
  • 2009 Taiwan – Bronze Medal
  • 2013 Bulgaria – Gold Medal
  • 2017 Turkey – Gold Medal

World Deaf Wrestling Championship

  • 2008 Armenia – Silver Medal
  • 2012 Bulgaria – Bronze Medal
  • 2016 Iran- Gold Medal

Social Media 

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Gaurav Kadam
Gaurav Kadam
Gaurav Kadam is a young sportswriter and journalist who is a huge cricket enthusiast. He is a bibliophile and a movie and American TV series buff, who is completely addicted to Netflix. Gaurav is liberal in thoughts and agnostic in deeds.

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