|Full Name||Colonel Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore|
|Profession||Trap Shooter, Indian Politician|
|Date of Birth||29 Jan, 1970|
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.
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.
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.
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 double trap 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.
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.