Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore Hails Sports Authority of India, But Says it Needs to do a Lot
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who clinched a historic silver medal in double trap shooting event at the 2004 Athens Olympics, said the increase in resources and aspirational level has created a perfect atmosphere for sportspersons
Olympic silver medallist and Union Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore on Monday complimented the Sports Authority of India for its developmental works but at the same time asked it to do a "lot more" for Indian sports to flourish and produce more medal winners.
The 46-year-old Rathore, who is a union minister of state for information and broadcasting, was guarded when asked if the country can hope to see him as its sports minister in the near future.
"It all depends on the Prime Minister," Rathore said when asked if he can become the sports minister, a day before the NDA government's cabinet reshuffle.
Rathore spoke on the occasion of the launch of Olympians Association of India (OAI), which was graced by over 100 Olympians and all stakeholders associated with it.
"SAI is indeed doing a lot, they are trying their level best, but they need to do lot more to produce more medal winners from India," said Rathore.
Rathore, who clinched a historic silver medal in double trap shooting event at the 2004 Athens Olympics, said the increase in resources and aspirational level has created a perfect atmosphere.
"I congratulate all who have brought all the Olympians under one roof and one platform. These Olympians are all very unique and accomplished. It did take some times for something to come up like this but now since it has come up, it will do a lot of good to the Indian Olympians," he said.
"I would like to expect OAI to do a lot more in helping the Indian Olympians. In a country with such huge population, it is very sad that we don't have enough medallists, we are not organised but we have huge potential. I believe with OAI coming up, it would be much more organised now.
"Every athlete from every country go through problems, but there is a way to deal with it. So, a platform like this for the Olympians can do a lot in that aspect. OAI can bring education online which will help the young athletes to continue with their passions while not compromising on their education," he added.
Rathore said athletes competing in the Olympics must shut out the hype surrounding their participation. "Lastly, I wish all the Rio Olympians a very best of luck. We are sending a strong contingent. Just go there and create as many winning chances. You guys have been performing globally throughout the year, so once you go there, do not treat this as something else and shut out all the unnecessary hype, and focus solely on the Games. Olympics is lot about mental challenge," Rathore said.
"You are ambassadors of this country in Rio. Once you reach there it will be just India you will be representing. Lot of people will want you to win and you will feel the pressure, but give your best shot. I am hopeful that we will have lot more medallists than the last time. "You get this chance once in four years, so go there and perform and make your country proud."
Asked about the improvements made in the sport of shooting, Rathore said a trend has been set in. "In shooting we have won medals in the last three Olympics, a trend has been set in and the standard has been raised. It's a perfect environment for the shooters to raise the bar higher. The environment has become very positive and there are positive examples. Resources have been coming and the training standard has gone up."
Sports Minister Jitendra Singh hoped "a history of sorts" will be created at the Rio Olympics. "It is difficult to say how many medals we can win but I can say it will be in double digit for the first time in history of Indian sports. I feel a history of sorts will be created in Rio," Singh, who took charge of the ministry recently, said.
The minister reiterated the government's support for ailing hockey legend Mohammad Shahid, who is undergoing treatment for liver and kidney problems at the Medanta Hospital in Gurgaon.