Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, a silver medallist at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and a Minister of State (Independent Charge) in Information and Broadcasting, was given additional independent charge of the Sports Ministry in the Indian government’s Cabinet Reshuffle in New Delhi on Sunday.
Rathore replaces Vijay Goel in the position who has been made a minister of state in the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and also the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
Colonel Rathore first stepped in a shooting range in the mid 1990s and some years later, he became India’s first ever individual silver medal winner at the Olympic Games. He stood on the podium after finishing second in the men’s double trap at the 2004 Athens Games.
A year before he created Olympic history, Rathore had won a silver medal at the 2003 World Championships in Sydney.
Rathore’s recovery from a patella fracture and a prolapsed disc to an Olympic medal is well known. At Athens, he moved up from fifth in the qualifiers to win silver in the final.
Born into an army family, Rathore cleared the National Defence Academy examination and served in the Indian army, including fighting militants in Kashmir for two years, which, his mother believes, held him in good stead during the Olympic final.
A second-generation army officer, Rathore is attached to the Jaipur-based 9 Grenadiers. His father, Colonel (retd) Lakshman Singh Rathore, once commanded it.
After taking premature retirement from the Indian army, Rathore joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2013 and was sworn in as minister of state for information & broadcasting when the Modi government came to power in May 2014.
He replaces the 63-year-old Goel whose reign as Sports Minister thus ends after just over a year after he was appointed to the post in July 2016, replacing Jitendra Singh. In an eventful tenure, Goel was caught up in various controversies, including being accused of disrupting Indian athlete’s preparations in Rio during the Olympics that year.