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'The whole family is very happy'

Harish Kotian | August 17, 2004 23:40 IST
Last Updated: August 18, 2004 12:38 IST

Major Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore of the Indian Army created history at Athens today when he became the first athlete from India to win an individual silver medal at the Olympic Games.

Dr Gayatri Rathore, wife of Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, offering sweets to her mother-in-law and children at their residence in New DelhiMajor Rathore finished as the runner-up in the men's double-trap shooting event at the 28th Olympic Games. Quite naturally, members of his family and of the goodly sized Indian Olympic contingent were thrilled with the achievement and the fact that India's medal drought at Athens had been broken.

Harish Kotian spoke to Major Rathore's wife Gayatri, his father Colonel Lakshman Singh Rathore, Harish Sharma, deputy chef de mission of the Indian contingent in Athens, and Baljit Singh Sethi, secretary general of the National Rifle Association of India, who is also currently in the Greek capital. Here is what they had to say:


Dr Gayatri Rathore: "I feel good. The whole family is very happy about it.

"I was praying and we expected that he would do well if he continues to be in the form which he has been showing for the past 2-3 years. And by the grace of God he performed to his best and won the silver medal.

"Yesterday, I spoke to him, but we didn't talk anything related to his event. But he seemed to be very composed, and sounded confident. So I assume that he was very comfortable.

"He was shooting very well, and many of his other opponents were also doing well. So, we were just praying that he maintains his form and does well.

"I was very sure that he would fight back after finishing fifth in the qualifying round. Though I did not predict the result of his fightback, I knew he would try his level best."

Colonel Lakshman Singh Rathore: "The medal was expected. He was seeded number 3 and according to the seedings he should have won a bronze medal at least, but he ended up with the silver.

"He was fifth in the qualifying, but he fought back well and finished second in the final rankings."

Harish Sharma: "I am very proud of Rathore. He has made the entire nation proud today.

"We were very confident that he would win a medal. I was with him at the Olympic Village before the event and he seemed supremely confident of his chances."

Baljit Singh Sethi, NRAI secretary general: "This is the biggest achievement for us. I am the happiest man in the world today. I am glad that some individual has finally won an Olympic medal in shooting.

"Abhinav Bindra had a good chance of winning a medal [in the men's 10m air rifle event yesterday]. He had a spectacular qualifying round, where he totalled 597 points, and seemed sure of a medal in the final round. But somehow he did not perform to his best in the final round. It seems the pressure of performing in the final round caught up on him. He did not admit it though, when I had dinner with him last night. He was very dejected though, after missing a golden chance of winning an Olympic medal.

"However, Rathore's medal-winning performance will serve as an inspiration for the rest of the Indian contigent and we will hopefully win more medals. We are now confident that our women shooters will take a cue from this and perform to their best on August 20 and win a medal."

Images: Rathore's Silver Lining
Olympian of the Day: The Late Bloomer

Photograph: Saab Press

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