Chief of Haryana based non-profit organization Dera Sacha Sauda, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, has been recommended for this year's Dronacharya Award by the Yoga Federation of India.
YFI chief Ashok Kumar Agarwal said, "His contribution to the sport cannot go unnoticed. He has given birth to several world and Asian champions. So, we recommended his name for the Dronacharya Award last month."
Mockery of Dronacharya award?
What is Dronacharya Award?
Dronacharya Award is the most prestigious award given to outstanding coaches by the Government of India. Some of the famous names who have received it are Om Prakash Bhardwaj (Boxing, 1985), Ramakant Achrekar (Cricket, 1990), Pullela Gopichand (Badminton, 2009) and Mahavir Singh Phogat (Wrestling, 2016).
Why a nomination for Gurmeet Ram Rahim?
According to YFI, Gurmeet has trained Neelam Kumari Insaan and Karamdeep, who won medals at the 2016 World and Asia Yoga championships.
As per the Asian Yoga Federation's website, Neelam won a gold medal in yogasan in women's 'above 35 years' category.
Karamdeep grabbed gold medals in Artistic Yoga Pair and Rhythmic Yoga along with Anusha Karmakar.
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Singh's spokesperson defends the recommendation
Singh's spokesperson Dr Aditya Insaan said, "The Shah-Satnam Ji Foundation-run schools, colleges and institutions have made it to international podium finishes with only Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji as their mentor and Papa coach."
He added, "Almost all athletes sent by YFI to international tournaments come out of his academy. The athletes train at Dera academy and Ram Rahim personally supervises their sessions. "
A lifetime achievement award too?
Gurmeet Ram Rahim's name has not only been recommended for the Dronacharya Award, but also for the Lifetime Achievement Award given to the coaches who have produced outstanding sportsmen in a period of 20 years.
Who is Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insan?
A self-proclaimed god-man, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has made a name for himself as an actor after he starred in five films over the last few years.
Reportedly, he donned the hats of a director, singer, stuntman, choreographer and a script writer among many others.
As far as yoga is concerned, he seems to have no connection with the sport.
Sports ministry shocked?
After receiving the application from YFI, a sports ministry's official said, "The YFI has been de-recognized and the Sports Ministry only recognizes 47 national sports federations. Yoga is now being handled by the Ministry of AYUSH. It's surprising that the YFI actually sent the application."
01 Jun 2017
Will not consider Gurmeet Rahim's name for Dronacharya Award: Goel
Sports Minister Vijay Goel said, in no unclear terms, that the ministry will not give any consideration to Yoga Federation of India's recommendation to give Dronacharya Award to Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
He added that yoga is part of Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) and no award has ever been given in this field.