It was a never ending debate whether it should only be sportsperson who should be given the Sports Ministry or to stick with career politicians. Now, with Olympic silver-medallist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore being appointed as the new Sports Minister after the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government went in for a major Cabinet reshuffle on Sunday morning, hope floats on sportspersons getting a real leg-up in terms of assistance from the government. He has succeeded Vijay Goyal as the Sports Minister and is the first sportsperson to become the head of the Sports Ministry. But can it be a new dawn for the Indian sports and a step towards PM Modi’s 2020 Olympic mission of making India into a sports power-house? Despite India’s gigantic talent pool, it has performed under par on the world stage. In 2016 Rio Olympics India could only manage two medals. If an analysis is done on Rathore’s resume, he is the first Indian shooter to win an Olympic medal after his silver at the 2004 Athens Games. He also has three gold medals from the Commonwealth Games to his name from 2002 and 2006, along with a silver. In 2004 and 2006, he won two World Championship golds as well in Sydney and Cairo respectively.
Rathore also had the honour of being India’s flag bearer at the 2006 Commonwealth Games and 2008 Olympics opening ceremonies. After his Athens silver, he was also given the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award. Moreover, he has also received the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian honour.
Earlier in 2016, PM Modi had setup an Olympic Task Force. As per PTI report, he said,” The Task Force will be set up to prepare a comprehensive action plan for effective participation of Indian sports persons in the next three Olympic games 2020, 2024 and 2028.” Keeping this statement in mind it is hoped Rathore turns out to be the missing piece of puzzle to power-up Modi’s Olympic plan for 2020.