Award Name : Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna
Year of Award : 2009
Award for : Sports and Games
Location : Bhiwāni, Haryana, India
Vijender Singh Beniwal also known as Vijender Singh or Vijender Beniwal, is an Indian professional boxer and former amateur boxer from Kaluwas, Bhiwani district in Haryana. Vijender Singh was born on 29 October 1985 to Mahipal Singh Beniwal and his wife Krishna Devi in a village named Kaluwas located not far from Bhiwani in Haryana, India. His father worked as a bus driver at Haryana Roadways. Singh’s family was poor and hence his father had to work extra hours in order to send him to school. He initially studied in a school in his village Kaluwas before enrolling at Happy Senior Secondary School located in Bhiwani. As a child, Vijender took up boxing following in the footsteps of his elder brother Manoj, who learnt the sport and even got employed with the Indian Army. He graduated from Vaish College but boxing was his original passion. Vijender became a keen boxer from an early age and before long he decided to take it seriously enough as a career option. To that end, he started practicing at the famous Bhiwani Boxing Club and in 1997 won a silver medal at a national level sub junior tournament and three years later won the gold medal at the Nationals.
He won gold medal at the national championships in 2000 and in the Afro-Asian Games of 2003, he won silver medal. In 2006 Commonwealth Games he came out with a bronze medal and in the Asian Games of 2006 held at Doha also he was able to win a bronze. In 2008 Olympics held at Beijing, he defeated Emilio Correa of Cuba on 22nd August 2008 and shared a bronze medal with the Indian wrestler Sushil Kumar. He participated in ramp shows also and took up modeling as a part time job. He appeared on the game show 10 ka Dum by Salman Khan. He also appeared in the fourth session of the dance reality show Nach Baliye. He has great role in bringing the game of boxing back into the limelight in the Indian history. In September 2009, he became the top ranked boxer in the annual middle weight category with 2008 according to the announcement of the International Boxing Association. He won 2010 Asian Games also. He was granted Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, the highest sporting award of India in July 2009. Though he was recommended for Padma Shree award in 2009, he was denied later on. But he received the same award in January 2010.