The Yoga Federation of India (YFI) feels that Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who has - apart from making the 'MSG' movies - produced world and Asian yoga champions, is eligible for the highest coaching award in the country.
Yes, you read that right. In a serious (and hilarious?) step, YFI has recommended him for the Dronacharya Award.
The award, given to coaches who produce top quality athletes, could now be given to the Dera Sacha Sauda Chief - someone who also claims to produce, direct, act and sing in his movies.
A video in which Singh claims that Virat Kohli took tips from him, and that he's a master at every sport he's ever played:
But jokes aside, the development comes after Rahim Singh's pupils Neelam and Karamdeep won medals at the World and Asian Cups in 2016.
YFI president Ashok Kumar Agarwal was quoted in an Indian Express report confirming the recommendation:
“His contribution to the sport cannot go unnoticed. He has given birth to several international yoga stars, including world and Asian champions. So, as per ministry’s policy, we recommended his name for the Dronacharya Award last month."
It doesn't end there. Just like his Messenger of God character, Singh will be fighting for awards on all fronts - including the Lifetime Achievement Award, which is given to coaches who consistently train 'outstanding sportspersons' for a period of 20 years.
Singh's spokesperson said that the reason for this was:
“The Shah Satnam Ji Foundation-run schools, colleges and institutions have made it to international podium finishes with only Saint Dr Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insaan as their mentor and Papa coach."
There was an attempt to make yoga a nationwide sport after the sports ministry had inducted it into the list of 'priority sport' a couple of years ago. But troubles ensued - formation of a federation was difficult, a national championships could not be conducted, and the decision was reversed.
Singh teaching meditation to Indian cricketers:
The YFI says that they are recognised by the Indian Olympic Association. If true, they are well within their rights to recommend Singh's name.
Wonder if he would ride a lion to collect the award if he gets it?