Exclusive: A Morning With Sports Min Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore

“You can be an Olympic medalist, but at home you are just a dad,” says Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.

Updated
Sports
3 min read

At 47, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore is one of the youngest ministers in the central government. The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports is his third arena in life – the first two being the Army and the shooting ranges across the world.

In this The Quint exclusive, Rathore shares vignettes of his life as an Army officer, an Olympic medallist, and a minister.

Born into an Army family, Rathore grew up in an environment conducive for sports and physical training. These pictures from his personal album hint at what the future had in store for this tall and lanky lad holding the school colours.

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    From the archives: Sports at School(Photo Courtesy: Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore)
    From the archives: Sports at School
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    (Photo Courtesy: Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore)
  • 03/03
    (Photo Courtesy: Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore)

The next phase in Rathore’s life was his days in the National Defence Academy.

We used to do rope-climbing just for the warm-up in those days. If I tried that now, my muscles will be sore for months. 
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Youth Affairs and Sports Minister 
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (extreme right) at National Defence Academy.
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (extreme right) at National Defence Academy.
(Photo Courtesy: Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore)

As a young Army officer, Rathore spent three years in Kashmir during the height of militancy in the state. That tenure taught him how to live one day at a time.

“We never lived beyond a day, we never looked back at the past,” he says.

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    From the Archives: The Kashmir Days(Photo Courtesy: Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore)
    From the Archives: The Kashmir Days
  • 02/06
    (Photo Courtesy: Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore)
  • 03/06
    (Photo Courtesy: Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore)
  • 04/06
    (Photo Courtesy: Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore)
  • 05/06
    (Photo Courtesy: Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore)
  • 06/06
    (Photo Courtesy: Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore)

Rathore’s silver medal at the Athens Olympics in 2004 was historical at many levels. It was the first ever individual silver for India, if we discount the ones won by Norman Pritchard in 1900.

The Olympic medal brought him other honours and awards in quick succession.

Rathore’s silver medal at the Athens Olympics in 2004 was historical.
Rathore’s silver medal at the Athens Olympics in 2004 was historical.
(Photo Courtesy: Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore)

Today, as a minister, Rathore insists upon the self-discipline he learnt in his previous avatars. His day starts with yoga and ends with some music at night. “I love Bollywood music. My personal favourites are old melodies but my children keep introducing me to new tracks”.

The hours in between are dedicated to looking into the matters of the ministries he handles, travelling, and meeting the visitors from his constituency, Jaipur (Rural).

Rathore’s parliament constituency is barely 200 km from New Delhi, which forces him to be a hands-on legislator. 
Rathore’s parliament constituency is barely 200 km from New Delhi, which forces him to be a hands-on legislator. 
(Photo Courtesy: Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore)

He is optimistic about India’s sporting future and has faith in the government.

Our mission is to take sports to the millions of Indians as opposed to a few thousand now. We’ll push hard and make things happen.
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Youth Affairs and Sports Minister 

Rathore shares that the ministry is developing some useful sporting apps that will make accessing sports infrastructure and finding the right training much easier. “We are mapping sports infrastructure across the country. Our app will connect the user to the nearest facility for the sport of her choice”. Another app will give users the rules, tricks, and best recorded moves of any sport of their choice, he says.

He also emphasises the importance of right coaching. “You can be an Olympic medalist, but at home you are just a dad.” His son, Manavaditya Rathore, is also an international shooting champion. Rathore insists, however, that he chooses to be a father and not the coach to the young shooter.

With less than two-year-long tenure ahead of Rathore as the Sports Minister, one wonders if all his plans will see the light of the day. However, Rathore is confident. He uses a sports analogy to explain:

A batsman going down to bat in the final over does not worry that only six balls are remaining. He can still score 36 runs!
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Youth Affairs and Sports Minister 

Cameraperson: Abhay Sharma

Video Editor: Rahul Sanpui

Published: 
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