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Rajyavardhan Rathore is First Sportsperson to Head Sports Ministry; Vijay Goel Gets Parliamentary Affairs

Olympic silver medallist Rajyavardhan Rathore replaced Vijay Goel as the new Sports Minister in the latest cabinet reshuffle of the Narendra Modi government on Sunday.

Arjit Dabas | News18 Sports

Updated:September 3, 2017, 4:30 PM IST
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Rajyavardhan Rathore is First Sportsperson to Head Sports Ministry; Vijay Goel Gets Parliamentary Affairs
File photo of File photo of Union Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore. (Getty Images)
New Delhi: Olympic silver medallist Rajyavardhan Rathore replaced Vijay Goel as the new Sports Minister in the latest cabinet reshuffle of the Narendra Modi government on Sunday. In fact, he is the first sportsperson to take charge of Sports Ministry.

Rathore was named as Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports; and Minister of State in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Rathore was earlier in the MoS in I&B Ministry. The 47-year old had an impressive CV as a sportsman, with a silver medal in the 2004 Olympics being his highest achievement.

"My gratitude to PM for reposing faith in me and giving me a very important ministry. I appeal to all sports federations, let's keep sportsmen as most important person,everything else will fall into place later," Rathore said after taking charge.

Rathore added that it's the job of the Sports Ministry to be a service provider for sportsperson. "We will try and remove all hurdles and try to get them(sportsperson) the best of opportunities."

He has three Commonwealth Gold medals, two World Championship Gold medals and a silver medal in the Asian games to his name.

His experience of being a part of the system will come in handy as a sports minister, with Prime Minister Modi also saying that Sports remains a strong focus for his government.

Sports Activist Rahul Mehra praised the decision to appoint Rathore, saying he would be the perfect guy for the job.

"It's a fantastic thing, I am hopeful that as a former player he will do justice to his role. We will have to give him some time and see how he moves. We have to keep in mind that Sports Ministry is influenced by a lot of big wigs. I am hoping he could break down the monopoly of organisations because if he can't then who will." Mehra said.

He added that the biggest challenge for Rathore will be ensuring that there is a free, fair, transparent and a pro-sport pro citizen sports bill and keeping the politicians out of sports bodies.

Rajiv Bhatia, Secretary of National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), who knows Rathore from his early days as a shooter also backed the decision.

"We welcome him, he was the first individual silver medallist for India. We at NRAI welcome him in this role. He will be knowing the kind of problems faced by the shooters in the country. But as a sports minister, I am sure he will give equal importance to all sports." Bhatia said.

Goel's tenure as Sports Minister came under the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Goel was known more as a 'selfie minister', with controversies regarding selfies he had taken during the Rio Olympics with athletes.

Mehra said that less said about Goel's tenure as sports minister, the better it is.

Here is a list of ministers who have taken charge of sports ministry earlier,

Ministers of Youth Affairs and Sports

Mamata Banerjee (1991 – 1993)
Uma Bharti (7 November 2000 – 25 August 2002)
Sunil Dutt (2004 – 2005)
Mani Shankar Aiyar (2005 – 2009)
M. S. Gill (28 May 2009 – 18 January 2011)
Ajay Maken (19 January 2011 – 28 October 2012)
Jitendra Singh (29 October 2012 – 25 May 2014)
Sarbananda Sonowal (20 May 2014 – 23 May 2016)
Jitendra Singh (23 May 2016 - 5 July 2016)
Vijay Goel (5 July 2016 – present)
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