Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore - The Fantastic Double Trap Shooter From India

Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore was born on 29th January 1970 in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. He was born in a Kshatriya Rajput family with an army background. His father, Laxman Singh Rathore, was a Colonel in the Indian Army and his mother, Manju Rathore, is a teacher. He is nicknamed `Chilly’ at home by his parents. He had a knack for shooting right from his childhood and kept on refining his skills as he started growing. Apart from shooting, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore was also interested in cricket. He played cricket so well that he was almost selected by the State of Madhya Pradesh for their Ranji Trophy team. His mother declined from sending him for selection as she did not want him to interrupt his college studies.

He joined the Indian army and worked his way up to the position of a Major. He took up competitive shooting in 1988. He has fought against the separatist militants in Kashmir.  In 1999, he was awarded the `Sword of Honour’ which is Indian Military Academy’s most prestigious award for Best Gentleman Cadet. In the same year, he also picked up the `Sikh Regiment Gold medal’ which is Indian Military Academy’s award for the Best Sportsman.

In the 2002 Commonwealth Games at Manchester, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore won the individual Gold Medal setting a new Games record of 192 targets out of 200 and this record still stands. He also won the Team Gold Medal that year. He went on to successfully defend his Commonwealth Champion title by winning the Gold Medal again at the Melbourne Games in 2006. He won the Silver Medal in the Team event in 2006.

Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore won the Asian Clay Target Gold Medal four times in a row from 2003 to 2006. Between 2002 and 2006, he won twenty five international medals in double trap shooting. He won two gold medals in two World Cup shooting competitions. The first one was in Sydney in 2004 and the second one was in Cairo in 2006. The World Cup in Spain was an event only for the top twelve shooters in the world. He came third. He was World No. 1 in 2004. He slipped to World No. 2 in 2005. Since 2005, he has maintained the third place in the world throughout.

Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore is the first Indian to win a silver medal at the Athens Olympic Games in 2004 in the Men’s Double Trap Event. The only other Indian who had performed this feat and before India gained independence was Norman Pritchard who had won two silver medals at the 1900 Paris Olympic Games. Rathore finished fifth in the qualification rounds at Athens with 135 points. But with the entire nation backing him for the gold, the 2008 Beijing Olympics was an anti climax performance by Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore as he qualified fifteenth in the league rounds and crashed out. It was very disappointing for him, particularly when he was given the honourable task of being the flag bearer for India during these Games.

Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore has now become a Colonel in the Indian Army at the National Defense Academy at Khadakwasla, Pune. He is soft spoken by nature and a down to earth person. He has always commented in his interviews that it is easier to use a gun on a battlefield than aiming for an Olympic Gold Medal. It was Abhinav Bindra who made this into a reality when he picked up India’ first individual Gold Medal in any event at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. However, it was Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore’s silver medal at the Athens Olympics that sparked the motivation of going for Olympic medals in the country and Bindra proved this.

Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore was given the Arjuna Award in 2004. He was given the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 2005. He was also awarded the Padma Shri the same year. In addition to these awards, he has been honoured with the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, a Military Award for exceptional service by the President of India in 2004.




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Tahseen Nakavi Juror

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Keywords :
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore , Double Trap Shooting


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