Honoured with the "Blazer", the highest sports award at the National Defence Academy of India in 1989
Conferred with the “Sword Of Honour” as the Best All Round Officer Cadet and the Sikh Regiment Gold Medal for being the Best Sportsmen at the Indian Military Academy in 1990
Embellished with Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM), Special Service Medal and Sainya Seva Medal for his exceptional services in the Indian Army
Bagged two gold medals (individual and pairs) in the double trap events of the Commonwealth Games of 2002, held in Manchester
Earned an individual bronze in the double trap event at the World Shotgun Championship as well as the World Championship in 2003, held in Cyprus and New Delhi, respectively. The same year, the Government of India honoured him with the Arjuna Award for his commendable shooting career.
Dominated the Asian Clay Target Championship from 2003 to 2006 and repeated the victory in 2011 in double trap individual event
Scripted his name in the history of Indian sports by clinching the first Olympic medal in shooting, post-independence in 2004. The same year, he bagged gold medal at the World Championship in double trap individual event, held in Sydney and alsoreceived the highest sporting honour of India, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratnaaward.
Bestowed with Padma Shri award by the Government of India in 2005
Chosen as the flag bearer for India during the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia and 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China
Elected as an MP in the 2014 Lok Sabha election from Jaipur and appointed as the Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting
Appointed as the Minister of State(Independent Charge) forYouth Affairsand Sports in 2017
Became the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in 2018
I know politics and politicians are hated, but I still believe in goodness of a heart that has selfless intentions. With the grace of God, I will make a difference.
We all know him today as India’s Sports Minister who has also been an athlete, the man who clinched the first individual shooting medal in the Olympics after independence-Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore who has served the Indian Army for 23 years. With a tally of 25 international medals, Rathore has scripted history, being the first Indian shooter to bag an Olympic medal (silver) for the nation, post-independence. He has always been looked as an inspiration by the youth and never failed to fulfil his duties both as an athlete and Army-man. He took voluntary retirement from the Army to serve the nation as people’s representative. Let’s peek into the journey of Rathore of Jaisalmer as an Army-man, an Athlete and ultimately as a Politician.
Photo Credits: ohmyrajasthan.com
Born in a royal family of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan to an Army-man Colonel Lakshman Singh Rathore and a teacher Manju Rathore; Rajyavardhan was raised in a complete army environment and adapted the qualities of discipline from his ancestors, belonging to the family of the first King of Bikaner Rao Bikaji in Bikaner. Since his childhood, he was more involved in sports than academics. Rathore recognised his passion for sports when he was studying in school and started polishing his athletic skills. He was a good cricketer at that time and even got selected for the Ranji Trophy as a player of Madhya Pradesh cricket team but was somehow discouraged by his mother as he was in high school that time. Besides that, he has also represented his school at the Kendriya Vidyalaya National Meet in the discus throw event.
Photo Credits: thequint.com
After graduating the 77th course of the National Defence Academy, Rathore attended IMA (Indian Military Academy) and was awarded the “Sword of Honour”, being the all-round Gentleman Cadet. Besides this, he was also awarded the Sikh Regiment Gold Medal for being the best sportsman of the course. He was an integral part of the counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir. His regiment received the honours of Army Chief’s Citation and the Governor of J&K’s Citation. Being part of the Indian Army; Rathore had the opportunity to excel in other sports along with shooting such as water polo, swimming, golf, basketball etc. but he focused primarily on shooting and determined his way to bag medals for the nation with his gifted skills that paved his way to the international sports stages. He was honoured with the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM) by the Government of India for his commendable services as an Army-officer.
There is always anxiety before a competition and it was no different for me today. It was only in the third round, with about 40 targets left, that I realised I could match the world record score.
Photo Credits: sports.ndtv.com
With a penchant for target based shooting, Rathore burst into the international scene as a double trap shooter in 2002 when he participated in the Commonwealth Games and clinched gold for the nation. There, he set a new record of hitting the target 192 times out of 200 attempts and still holds that. The following year, Rathore won a bronze medal at the World Shotgun Championship and received the Arjuna Award for his astounding performances in the sport. His next target was the Olympics, which was going to be held after a year. So, he started training hard for that but never missed on any of his responsibility as an Army-man. In 2004, Rathore shot to fame for bagging India’s first Olympic medal (silver) in shooting after independence, giving proud moments to all Indians. Besides that, he also won in the doubletrap pair event along with Moraad Ali Khan. Rathore successfully defended his title at the Commonwealth Games of 2006 and earned silver in the double trap pair event with Vikram Bhatnagar. Being very down to earth, Rathore never bragged about his achievements and always put all his efforts to be better than previous performance. Rathore has also donned the colour of success at the World Championships, bagging gold medals in the double trap events in 2004 and 2006. He also dominated the Asian Clay Target Championships from 2003 to 2006 and repeated the victory in 2011, showcasing his flair in the double trap shooting event with a target score of 194. In 2005, the Government of India bestowed him with the Padma Shri award. In the Asian Games of 2006, Rathore represented the nation and earned a bronze.
I am confident of doing well because I am enjoying my sport again.
Photo Credits: news18.com
Post his voluntary retirement from the Indian Army as the Colonel from the Grenadiers Regiment of the Army and serving the nation for 23 years, Rathore joined BJP in September 2013 with an aim to reach the common and help the Government in the thoroughgoing development of the nation. The following year, he was elected as an MP of the Lok Sabha election from Jaipur with more than three lakh votes. It is rightly said that a leader doesn’t need to prove his skills as they are exhibited at the right time. Rathore’s leadership skill and firmly entrenched self-belief were much appreciated by people, and on 9th November 2014, he was sworn in as the Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting and after three years, appointed as the Minister of Sports. The following year, he became the Minister of State (I/C) for Information & Broadcasting. Rathore is currently serving at his best as an Indian politician and has been looking forward as one of the most effective bricks of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Government. He played a prime role in Khelo India, a national programme for the development of sports which was much appreciated by the world. Rathore’s perception and efforts in uplifting the stature of India as a sports-centric nation has always proved to be fruitful. All in all, counting on his career span as an Army-man, an athlete and as a politician, Rathore has lived each of his role with all enthusiasm, efforts and firm plans, adding feathers in his cap from every realm of his life and still going on for the welfare of the nation.