Colonel Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore- Not Just Shooting Sensation

Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore is a retired Indian Army Officer.He won a silver medal in double trap shooting for India at 2004 Athens Olympics.

Early Life
Rathore was born on 29th January 1970 in Jaislmer,Rajasthan.He is a graduate of 77th course of National Defence Academy.He attended Indian Military Academy in later years.He was recipient of Sikh Regiment Gold Medal,awarded to best sportsperson of the course.He fought in Kargil War.He was promoted to major in 2000.He served in Indian Army from 1999 to 2013.
Shooting Career
At 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester,Rathore won gold medal and set new CWG record of 192 targets out of 200.He also won team gold medal along with Moraad Ali Khan.In 2003,he won silver at World Championships in Sydney.After a gap of nearly 40 years,Indian could win a medal at World Championships in Shooting.His performance graph increased as he won Gold medals in two Shooting World Championships at Sydney in 2004 and at Cairo in 2006.
Historic Olympic Glory
After an average preliminary round performance at Athens Olympics in 2004,Rathore shot better in the final round and was even in the hunt for gold.However windy conditions put those hopes in disarray.However he kept his nerve to shoot 179 out of 200 to finish second behind Ahmed Almaktoum of UAE to grab silver medal for India.It was proud moment for Indians as for the first time an Indian had won individual silver medal at modern Olympics.With this result,he climbed to second in world rankings of double trap.
In 2006,he won a bronze at World Championships in Spain where only top 12 shooters of the world participated.Between 2002 and 2006,Rathore won 25 international medals at various double trap events showing his consistency in the sport.In 2011 at Asian Clay Target Championship in Kuala Lumpur he won gold.He also had world record equalling score of 194 in that meet.
Rathore won Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award in 2004-2005.He won Arjuna award in 2003-2004.He was chosen as flag bearer for India at 2006 Melbourne CWG and also at 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing,China.
Life after retirement
Following his retirement from the army and shooting,he turned towards politics.He became Member of Parliament for BJP in 2014.In November 2014,he was made the Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting.Just 14 months after India’s flop show at Rio Olympics in 2016,he took charge of Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.It was considered to be a good decision as Rathore could have looked after the Indian athletes with more focus on medal contendes forTokyo Olympics in 2020.Unfortunately,with just 24 to 26 months left for Olympics,he was inexplicably dropped from his post.
Colonel Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore has played many roles for India.But the most cherished one has to be his silver at Athens Olympics.
By Shailesh