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Sportspersons Are the Only VIPs, Says Sports Minister Rathore

Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore has not forgotten the days when he would take permission to enter the ministry premises and immediately after taking charge as sports minister, he outlined the philosophy of his new office - respect and facilities - for the country's athletes.

PTI

Updated:September 4, 2017, 6:21 PM IST
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Sportspersons Are the Only VIPs, Says Sports Minister Rathore
File photo of File photo of Union Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore. (Getty Images)
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New Delhi: Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore has not forgotten the days when he would take permission to enter the ministry premises and immediately after taking charge as sports minister, he outlined the philosophy of his new office - respect and facilities - for the country's athletes.

Insisting that he has a very fair idea of what hardships the players face, the 47-year-old Olympic medallist said he would work with the aim of creating an environment which will make athletes the first and foremost priority.

"My journey of coming to this ministry began at the reception downstairs (many years ago). I still remember how you have to take permission on paper to enter, it all started then. So I know as a player what hardships you have to face," Rathore said after taking charge.

"But I also believe that there are a lot of efficient officials in this ministry because of whom, I and many others got help. So the aim is to have more such officials and create an environment in which sportspersons come first and the first citizen of this country is a sportsperson."

Rathore said he was determined to bring about a change in sports administration.

"The philosophy of this ministry would be 'samman and suvidha'. Respect for every athlete and facilities for every player who is representing the country.

"The environment and attitude in this ministry needs to change. There is only one VIP and that is sportsperson and nobody else. This attitudinal shift is required."

Listing out his priorities, Rathore said making life easy for the athletes will be his focus.

"As I said samman and suvidha, that explains everything. I will pick up what schemes are being run and how can we improve those schemes. How can we improve delivery and how can we improve the management within various institutions we have created. How easy it becomes for a sportsperson to come to the sports ministry or send his request and get it executed.

"This ministry has to work 24X7 for the sportsman because when he is preparing every single day of the week and of the month and a year so we have to see how best we can provide that service. This is a service ministry and we provide service to the sportsman," he said.

Rathore, an MP from Rajasthan, also indicated that he will work with a team of his choice.

"Running any institution requires a mix of experience, in terms of sport, and management. I would look for people who are good managers and have heart of a sportsman."

A sense of euphoria gripped the sports fraternity with the news of Rathore, the 2004 Athens Games silver medallist, becoming the new sports minister, with leading athletes of the country welcoming the move.

"I want to thank the prime minister and the people who have expressed a lot of love for me for taking charge of the sports ministry. It's a big responsibility. I believe that Indians, specifically the youth, are capable of performing well at the world level be it sports or any other field.

When told that he is carrying a huge burden of expectations as India has always wanted a sportsperson to be at the helm of affairs, Rathore said he would do his best.

"Expectations are from the day when I faced the first challenge as a sportsperson but an athlete does not fear defeat. I will make each of that beginning which players and Indian sport requires. I won't step back whether I win or lose and need support of all to make a change.

"Education is not limited to just school and colleges. Sport is not for just entertainment. The kind of leadership and education you receive on sports fields, helps in learning how to lead life. And that will be the aim, to provide youngsters a platform."

When asked if his tenure would see the implementation of Sports Code and Sports Fraud Bill, he said, "In sport, an important link is of fans and the fans say their (sports) icons should not resort to cheating to win. Anything that gives primacy to fans and players, will be taken care of."
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