Indian trap-shooting ace Rajyavardhan Singh Ratore turns 46 today. An army officer from Jaisalmer, eagle eye Rathore’s career is laced with achievements and accolades. The veteran shooter has now retired from competitive shooting and serves as union minister under for state. The Rajasthani Rajput claim to fame is his Silver Medal in Double Trap at the Summer Olympics in Athens, 2004.
2002 to 2006 were marked as his peak years as he claimed 25 Medals at various championships for Double Trap. Presented with national awards like Padma Shri, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award in these golden years, Rathore emerged as a star athlete for India.
Lieutenant-Colonel Rathore remains the only trap shooter to win an individual Silver Medal for India (post-independence) since Norman Pritchard, who won two at the Paris Olympics, 1900.
Commonwealth Games, 2002, came up as break for Rathore as he won a Gold Medal, with a record of 192 targets out of 200, which still remains unbeaten. Partnering with Moraad Ali Khan, he won the team gold medal as well. He retained his Champion status in 2006, winning the Gold at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games. In the team event, he again won the Silver with Vikram Bhatnagar. He won Gold Medals in two World Shooting Championships, at Sydney in 2004 and Cairo in 2006.
In 2006, he won a Bronze in the World Championship in Spain and ranked third in the world for the most of 2003 and 2004. Subsequently, he climbed to the first rank in early 2004 and second after the Athens Olympics.
The shooter also accomplished a Bronze at the World Championship in 2003 for India after a gap of nearly 40 years. Rathore is also recognised for cllinching the Gold at Asian Clay Target, consecutively for four years.
Akash Khanna | FYS