In a startling revelation, Vijender Singh opened up on when he received the Arjuna Award and how he felt that he had to beg for it, akin to many other sportspeople.
When chatting to Shanivi Sadana on Sportskeeda’s Instagram handle, Vijender Singh opened up on the process for awarding sportspeople in India and how there were certain areas that needed to be tweaked.
Vijender Singh won the Arjuna Award in 2006
The Indian boxer spoke in detail on how he would create a system where each sportsperson’s achievements would be available and transparent on a website. Additionally, he opined that such a mechanism would prevent unnecessary wastage of resources and time.
“I always feel why we should fill nominations for sports awards like Arjuna Award, Bhim award or Padma Shri. Sports ministry has all the information and all these stats should be available and transparent. When I received my award in 2006, I had to do a lot of running, fill a lot of forms and had to meet a lot of sarkari babus [government people]. It felt like I had to beg for that award, which shouldn’t be the case because you have done so much. With so many middlemen, there is unnecessary wastage of time and resources,” Vijender Singh told Sportskeeda.
Additionally, Vijender Singh also shared his two cents on the current sporting landscape in the country and if the nation was too obsessed with cricket. In fact, Vijender Singh opined that it would be difficult for India to move away from cricket instantly.
“India is not ready to move away from cricket at the moment because it will take time. There are six sports channels and each channel is showing cricket only. Sometimes, they will show WWE but it is all about marketing. Other sports also require attention and it is important to create heroes so that people can follow them. It is more of motivating the people and changing the mindset,” Vijender Singh quipped.
Furthermore, he talked about the relation that success and interest in a particular sport enjoy and how that could ultimately pave the way for other sports to carve a niche alongside cricket.
“When you are getting medals, it will be highlighted. When there is success, then people will follow. We need to generate a lot of interest, in my opinion. It will take time to move away from cricket as a country but I am hopeful we will do so in the future,” Vijender Singh elaborated.