Born on 16th March 1971 in Jharsa, Gurgaon, Virender Singh got his name, Goonga Pehalwan, because of his disability to hear. He is passionate about wrestling and started training at very young age. With the support and encouragement of his family he became a living legend. He always fought able-bodied men and is the only deaf wrestler to do so.
Virender Singh Career:
Goonga participated in dangals held nearby and won most of them. He then went on to qualify for the 2005 Deaflympics and bagged gold medal in Melbourne Summer Deaflympics. His international career had just begun, he won silver in 2008 and bronze in Deaflympics, 2009 & 2012. In 2013, 22nd Deaflympics held at Sofia, Bulgaria, Virender tasted an epic victory and brought back home the gold medal. He had a warm reception and the whole nation is proud of him.
Virender, who currently is a clerk with the Haryana Power Corporation, is also professional wrestler who earns more from dangals . He fights 20-25 dangals a year where the prize money ranges from Rs. 5,000 to 100,000.
Virender Singh – The Irony
Virender Singh trained with Olympics medalist Sushil Kumar but he never got a chance to qualify for the Olympics. He always fought able-bodied men and is the only deaf wrestler there to do so. But he got sidelined because of his disability. The national coach rates him as one of the India’s best wrestlers but the federation has never given him a chance to qualify for Olympics.
The reason they give is that he can’t hear the referee’s whistle. The International Olympic Committee has clearly said that deaf wrestlers can compete and the officials should modify the tournament rules so that the referee can communicate the decision to him.
With his belief in God and ‘Never give up’ spirit, Virender never considered giving up or quitting wrestling. Goonga Pehalwan a documentary on the life of Virender Singh won the 62nd National Film Award.
Indian history has seen many other fierce and determined wrestlers, like ‘The Great Gama’ who liked to go against all odds to bring laurels to the country.