The All India Sports Council of the Deaf needs to emulate the national governing body for wrestling – Wrestling Federation of India – for support and growth of the wrestlers who earn laurels for the country.
While the WFI, under president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, is surging ahead professionally and is all set to become the first national sports federation in India, other than cricket, to offer annual contracts to its players, the All India Sports Council of the Deaf is faced with a revolt from the wrestlers under its banner.
While the WFI is working to ensure wrestlers’ participation in growth of the sport, the All India Sports Council of the Deaf is accused of silencing a “deaf wrestler” for raising a concern over “irregularities” in the council.
In a bid to silence Virender Singh, more popular as Goonga Pehelwan, the council has dropped its best prospect from the Indian squad for the World Deaf Senior Greco-Roman & Freestyle Championship, Vladimir, Russia.
Strange enough, Vijender aka Goonga Pehelwan is not just the deserving athlete to be in the team, he is also one of the most competent athlete under the Council banner. The fact is established from fact that the federation website displays Vijender’s image above and ahead of any other athletes.
According to a Times of India report, the legendary Goonga Pehelwan has been punished for speaking out against the alleged “irregularities” committed by the All India Sports Council of the Deaf.
As the council dropped Goonga Pehelwan from the World Championship squad, other wrestlers in solidarity with him have threatened to boycott the world meet. Nine of the participating wrestlers, states the TOI report, have written to the SAI that none of them will go to the Worlds if Virender were not included in the team.
Virender is a respected name in wrestling circles with seven international medals, including three golds from the Deaflympics (Olympic Games for deaf athletes) and one gold from the Deaf Worlds, under his belt.
The council has ignored him for the world meet even as the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has written to the AISCD to revoke Virender’s suspension with immediate effect. Instead federation’s interpreter and project officer Ketan Shah is insisting that Virender should first ‘apologise’ to the AISCD for making false allegations.