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WHO I AM!

A SHORT INTRODUCTION

Virender Singh was born to a farmers' family in Sasroli village, near Jhajjar in Haryana. His father, Ajit Singh, was a CISF Jawan, while his mother, Manna Devi, is a homemaker.

Virender was inspired to take up wrestling by his father and uncle, who were wrestlers as this was a family tradition passed on by generations. Virender, as a deaf kid, was bullied in the village and his uncle Surinder Pehelwan brought him to Delhi to live at the CISF akhara with him and his father. Watching his father and uncle wrestle, Virender developed an interest in wrestling and they also found talent in him and started honing his skills. Kumar trained in pehlwani wrestling at major wrestling akharas, namely the Chhatrasal Stadium and Guru Hanuman akhara. With minimal funds and poor training facilities for wrestling in India, even for the Deaflympics team, his family made sure he obtained the necessary dietary supplements by sending him tinned milk, ghee, and fresh vegetables.

WRESTLING CAREER:

Virender started training in pehlwani at the CISF akhada at the age of 9. He was trained at the Akhada by Surinder Pehelwan, his uncle, and later by Dronacharya Awardee Coaches Maha Singh Rao and Ramphal Singh.

Virender's first success came at the National Rounds of the World Cadet Wrestling Championships in 2002, where he won the gold medal. Even though the win meant automatic qualification for the world event, he was unfairly disqualified from going to the world event by the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), citing his deafness as the reason for doing so. It has to be said here that the world body doesn't disqualify deaf players or disabled players from the event but the WFI sent the Silver medallist and Virender was ignored. This was his initiation into the world of discrimination which dogged him all throughout his career. After this, in the year 2005, he got to know of the Deaflympics, formerly The World Games for the Deaf or The Silent Games, and keen on showing his mettle made it to the 2005 Summer Deaflympics in Melbourne, Australia and won the gold medal. There was no stopping him after that as he had found recognition amongst his own. He never gave up on the dream of representing India at the Olympics, but consistent discrimination and lack of knowledge on the part of the Wrestling Federation of India meant that he could never get referees that could govern matches for the deaf. He focused on the deaf games and in 2008 went to the World Deaf Wrestling Championships in Armenia, and secured a silver. Post that, at 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 performance was stellar earning him a gold medal. This was to be the best phase of his career as post this he followed it up with a gold medal at the 2016 World Deaf Wrestling Championships in Tehran, Iran. And this was followed by the 2017 Summer Deaflympics in Samsun, Turkey where he again won a gold medal. Virender was awarded the Arjuna Award for his stellar contribution to Indian Sports. he has also won Padma Shri for sports in 2021.