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Rajyavardhan Rathore becomes India's new sports minister

Qamar Sibtain/The India Today Group/Getty Images

Athens Olympic silver medallist shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore was on Sunday appointed the new sports minister in place of Vijay Goel, who has been made the minister of state for parliamentary affairs.

Rathore (47) was till now serving as minister of state for information & broadcasting.

He takes over the ministry at a time when Indian sport is at a crossroads, the successes of the London Olympics being followed by the anticlimactic Rio Games. Various sports are in turmoil, due to corruption, or infighting, or apathy. While the ministry's direct hold over the federations is limited, it does control funding and could use that as the carrot to bring them into line.

Rathore became India's first ever individual silver medal-winner at the Olympic Games after finishing second in the men's double trap at the 2004 Athens Games. This followed on from his silver medal at the 2003 World Championships in Sydney.

Prior to the Athens Games, Rathore was posted in Delhi with the army's marksmanship unit for two years to help him practise in the city's Tughlaqabad shooting range.

Born into an army family, Rathore served in Kashmir, among other places, which is believed to have stood him in good stead during the Olympic final.

After taking premature retirement from the Indian army, Rathore joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2013 and was sworn in as minister of state for information & broadcasting when the Modi government came to power in May, 2014.