In the cabinet rejig that happened on Sunday, India got its first ever sportsperson Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore as the sports minister of the country.
The newly-appointed Sports Minister, Rathore, an Olympic silver-medalist, assured citizens for providing the best of the opportunities and respect to sportspersons across the nation.
"We will focus on suvidha and sammaan. (We want to make sure that sportspersons get facilities as well as respect). We want to create an environment where they can improve their game," said Rathore to Indian reporters.
The 47-year old Olympian Rathore took over the charge from Vijay Goel, who has now been made the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs. Along with the Sports Ministry, he will also be looking after the Youth Affairs ministry. Rathore was up until now serving as Minister of State (MoS) for Information and Broadcasting.
Success in Sports to Reflect in Politics?
Apart from being an Olympics silver-medalist, Rathore has three Commonwealth Gold medals, and two World Championship Gold medals to his name.
Colonel Rathore stepped into the shooting range in the mid-1990s. After his premature retirement from the Indian Army, Rathore joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2013 and was sworn in as Minister of State (MoS) when the Modi Government came to power in May, 2014.
Having faced the overly restrictive environment to enter in sports as a sportsperson, Rathore said that we need to get rid of all restrictions to move ahead in sports. “Win medals at all levels - village level or at the Olympic level. Sports, is a state subject so we will work together with the state departments to provide the best of the opportunities for the sportspersons," said Rathore to Indian media.
Considering his determination for sports, the bar of expectations is higher from Rathore.
Battle for National Sports Bill
Rathore’s three-year apprentice period in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting will help him immensely while working for the Sports and Youth Affairs Ministry. After Rathore’s appointment as National Sports Minister, there is a hope to see the National Sports Bill being implemented in the Parliament, which until now was in a limbo under the earlier two cabinet ministers.
Evidently, after his appointment Rathore’s Twitter page got filled with a wave of congratulatory messages and tweets.
Rathore thanked PM Narendra Modi for believing in him, and tweeted, "The Prime Minister has allocated the ministries keeping in mind the capability and the potential of an individual. Not taking in basis the caste, religion and the gender. I want to thank the Prime Minister for giving me this responsibility."