A highly decorated Deafalympian, Virender Singh, couldn’t hold his disappointment seeing his name being snubbed for the Khel Ratna award as several other athletes were honoured by President Draupadi Murmu on Tuesday at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. Popularly known as Goonga Pahalwan, Virender has won India three Deafalympics Gold medals in wrestling. Having won Padma Shri in 2021, Virender took to social media, tagging Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, as he expressed his frustration at not winning the illustrious Khel Ratna, India’s highest sporting honour.

Virender, who is an Arjuna awardee, also criticised the Haryana government for not fulfilling the promise of rewarding him with Rs. 8 crore, as per its policy.

“Honourable PM Narendra Modi and Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, I haven’t been rewarded with the Khel Ratna despite winning 5 Olympic medals. The Haryana government has given be Rs. 8 crore, as per its policy. My only crime is that I am a deaf and mute athlete. Jay Hind,” he posted on X (formerly Twitter).

On Tuesday, PM Modi lauded the athletes who were honoured by President Murmu at the National Sports Awards ceremony.

“Congratulations to the illustrious winners of the National Sports and Adventure Awards 2023. Their remarkable achievements and unwavering dedication are an inspiration to our nation. They have not only excelled in their respective fields but also raised India’s flag high on the global stage,” tweeted PM Modi.

India’s star badminton men’s doubles duo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty received the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award during the ceremony on Tuesday.

Star India bowler Mohammed Shami, archers Ojas Pravin Deotale, Sheetal Devi, and Aditi Gopichand Swami, and wrestler Antim Panghal were among the stars who received the Arjuna Award.

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