Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore was on Sunday appointed as the country’s Youth Affairs and Sports Minister in place of Vijay Goel who has been made the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs. The 47-year-old Rathore was up until now serving as the Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting.
The changes have been made in a major cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and it sees Rathore replace a pro-active Goel who had started off with controversies but since had been applauded by people and sportspersons alike.
Rathore’s appointment can be hailed as a no-brainer for the government considering his Olympic silver medal at the 2004 Games. Colonel Rathore stepped into the shooting range in the mid 1990s and in 2004 he won the silver medal at Athens in the men’s double trap event. It made him the first to win an individual silver medal for the country in the Summer Games. A year prior, he had won a silver medal at the World Championships in Sydney.
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 for information & broadcasting when the Modi government came to power in May, 2014. His appointment, and change in portfolio, has been hailed by former sportspersons.
Following the appointment, Rathore said, “My gratitude to PM (Modi) for reposing faith in me and giving me a very important ministry. Appeal to all sports federations, let’s keep sportsmen as most important people, everything else will fall into place later.”