The Telegraph
Friday , January 17 , 2014
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Rathore owes it to army

- ‘Love challenges’
M.C. Mary Kom and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore in the city, on Thursday. A Telegraph picture

Calcutta: Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore draws inspiration from his days in the army. Be it sport or politics he loves challenges and is determined to reach the pinnacle.

The 2004 double trap silver medallist participated in an interactive session ‘Sports beyond cricket in India’, organised by Ficci Ladies Organisation (FLO) in the city on Thursday.

“My years in the army has taught me that you’ve got to have a mission… Add to it the measures and resources to reach that objective… You also need good support,” Rathore, who has joined the BJP, said.

“Before 2004 everyone said you can’t win in Olympics… I was determined to win and change that mindset… I never wanted to have a visiting card with the words Olympian written on it…

“There was a time people would rebuke Indian Olympians saying they were going to the competition for fun… The challenge really egged me on and I took the challenge without any government support or enough opportunity. There was no coach, system or resource...

“It was my wife, a doctor, who supported me. I could take a leap based on that foundation.

“Before 2004, we weren’t interested to win… But when we focus there, we do well… Just watch out for the 2016 Olympics,” Rathore predicted.

“I love challenges… When I joined politics I jumped into the deep sea without a life jacket … The country’s circumstances have forced me to join politics. We promise change in efficiency and accountability.

“The whole country believes that Narendra Modi will be the Prime Minister… Remember everything starts with a belief. For the first time the country has become united to bring in a change.

“We are all for transparency. We must open sports bodies to corporate houses…” Rathore said about his plans if the BJP comes to power.

Rathore said he stopped chasing a gold because he wanted to serve the nation. “Once Pulella Gopichand told me that he wanted to become a coach. I told him that by becoming an administrator I could bring in 10 coaches,” he said.

Rathore couldn’t stop reminiscing his old days.

“I played cricket for Jabalpur Club and even got selected in the top-20 Ranji probables… But by then I was in the Indian Army. Cricket wasn’t appreciated in the army. So I concentrated on other sports.

“In the early Nineties I was posted for a few years in Kashmir as part of the anti-terrorist group… When I came back, there was a vacuum and only sports could fill it… It was then that I took up shooting at an age of 28…”

He said he didn’t have a role model in his early days.

“I didn’t have a role model… Actually we have heroes all around us… We need to see the best in people and imbibe it in us. It’s a process…

“I’m an ordinary person, but always strive for something extraordinary. You’ve got to have the fuel to excel and do something for others.

“At the 2004 Olympics, my hands were shivering at one point… That was the fear of failure and the hope of success… That kept driving me…

“You’ve got to accept destiny… I’ve seen people more talented than me fail… Your most powerful weapon is mind… Use your mind and react,” he remarked.