It is a moment of immense pride to stand up at the podium as the National Anthem plays. As a soldier, an Olympic medalist shooter and now the Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports of India – Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore has shared this pride from both sides of the spectrum. Here’s a low down of six super things about one of India’s most versatile ministers.
1. A Versatile Minister
From winning 25 international medals including India’s first ever individual Silver medal at the Athens Olympics in 2004, to picking up the gun for The Indian Army, Col. Rathore always had a thirst to do his bit for the country. Driven by an undying commitment to revamp the political scenario in India, he joined as the I&B Minister in 2014. In a short span of time, he was appointed as India’s Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports in 2017 and there’s been no looking back.
2. From Athletics to Policy
Being a national level athlete himself, Col. Rathore has brought a kind of mutual intelligibility between sports and government policies for promoting sports. He has been relentlessly ratifying the need for inclusion of sports in the concurrent list and has been working towards creating an IT infrastructure to serve as one-in-all sports database.
3. Yay to Sports Funding
Whether it is the increased allocation to sports funding or his incessant push to make sports mandatory in the school curriculum, one can say that his eyes are firmly set on the target. “A holistic approach has to be taken and there will be a seamless network which will enable a pathway from schools to Olympics” as he says.
4. Khelo India
Colonel Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore has pulled out all the stops for the revival of a sporting culture in India. To this accord, the Khelo India initiative seems to be a sure shot. From promoting indigenous tribal games, talent search, to the promotion of sports among the disabled, this never-before-adopted approach is a game changer on its own.
5. Hum Fit Toh India Fit
Earlier this year, Col. Rathore hit the home run when he posted a picture of himself doing push-ups to launch the ‘Hum Fit Toh India Fit’ fitness challenge. People from all walks of life undertook the challenge ‘sportingly’. The elevated participation on social media and widespread engagement with the initiative was in itself the tipping point for sports in India.
6. Being One with the People
The Common Wealth Games held this year, was a whole new ball game for India too. From Mary Kom to Vinesh Phogat and the historic Gold by Manika Batra and Neeraj Chopra, India won 26 Gold medals and a total of 66 medals in all. The recent Gold by Hima Das at the IAAF World Championship has kept this ball rolling. Celebrating Hima Das’s recent win he said, “I firmly believe that a country with 1.25 billion population has the capability of producing 100 Usain Bolts.”
Our nation is brewing with talent that is eager to create sports history. All she needs is to be in the right hands for nurturing. If we ever had a chance at overhauling the sports and fitness ecosystem in India, it is now and it is under his leadership. But one has to remember, for this Olympics Medalist to be able to pull the trigger; it’ll be us who’d have to load that gun.