Rajyavardhan Rathore : There is only one VIP and that is sportsperson

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Rajyavardhan Rathore : There is only one VIP and that is sportsperson

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SportsCafe Desk


Having been an athlete himself, newly appointed Sports Minister, Rajyavardhan Rathore, clarified that he will give sportspersons the importance they deserve. Thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the people who supported him, he promised that he will try his best to fulfill their expectations.

After a major cabinet reshuffle by PM Modi, Rathore was appointed as the new Sports Minister replacing the outgoing Vijay Goyal who was appointed as the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs. Rathore recalled the days when he came to the ministry and as a sportsperson had to waste a lot of time doing paperwork. He emphasized that he will work hard to change the process so that the other sportsperson will not suffer the same problems that he had to endure.

"My journey of coming to this ministry began at the reception downstairs (many years ago). I still remember how you have to take permission on paper to enter, it all started then. So I know as a player what hardships you have to face," Rathore said after taking charge, as quoted by PTI.

"But I also believe that there are a lot of efficient officials in this ministry because of whom, I and many others got help. So the aim is to have more such officials and create an environment in which sportspersons come first and the first citizen of this country is a sportsperson.

"The philosophy of this ministry would be 'samman and suvidha'. Respect for every athlete and facilities for every player who is representing the country.

"The environment and attitude in this ministry needs to change. There is only one VIP and that is sportsperson and nobody else. This attitudinal shift is required."

The 47-year-old, first time made his presence know in the shooting range in the mid-1990s. He ended up creating history by becoming India’s first ever individual silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games in the men’s double trap event. Having been through the system, Rathore is well aware about the struggled that a sportsman has to face to represent his country at biggest platforms. Rathore asserted that his department will work so as to create a favourable environment for the athletes.

"As I said samman and suvidha, that explains everything. I will pick up what schemes are being run and how can we improve those schemes. How can we improve delivery and how can we improve the management within various institutions we have created. How easy it becomes for a sportsperson to come to the sports ministry or send his request and get it executed," he added.

"This ministry has to work 24X7 for the sportsman because when he is preparing every single day of the week and of the month and a year so we have to see how best we can provide that service. This is a service ministry and we provide service to the sportsman.

"Running any institution requires a mix of experience, in terms of sport, and management. I would look for people who are good managers and have heart of a sportsman."

Nine years after his historic triumph in Greece, Rathore opted to retire early from the army and joined the Bhartiya Janata Party. In 2014, he was appointed as the Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting. Having done a good job there, Rathore was given the role that his experience deserved.

"I want to thank the prime minister and the people who have expressed a lot of love for me for taking charge of the sports ministry. It's a big responsibility. I believe that Indians, specifically the youth, are capable of performing well at the world level be it sports or any other field,” he said.

Rathore born in an army family and cleared the National Defence Academy examination and got the chance to served in the Indian Army. He admitted that the country specially players expected him to take big steps so that people who looked sports just as entertainment will take it seriously.

"Expectations are from the day when I faced the first challenge as a sportsperson but an athlete does not fear defeat. I will make each of that beginning which players and Indian sport requires. I won't step back whether I win or lose and need support of all to make a change.

"Education is not limited to just school and colleges. Sport is not for just entertainment. The kind of leadership and education you receive on sports fields, helps in learning how to lead life. And that will be the aim, to provide youngsters a platform."

Indian athletes, particularly wrestlers, have been under the scanner in recent years following a few doping violations. When asked if he would be the person to implement the Sports Code and Sports Fraud Bill, he replied, "In sport, an important link is of fans and the fans say their (sports) icons should not resort to cheating to win. Anything that gives primacy to fans and players, will be taken care of."

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