New Delhi, Sep 10 (IANS) India's first individual Olympic silver medallist shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore says he has entered politics to change the perception about the "hated profession" by doing his bit for the nation.
"Politics is the most hated profession but I still chose it. I had the opportunity to carry on with my life but I made up my mind to join politics after a lot of thought. The focus is on building the nation, building this beautiful country. With the grace of god, I will make a difference," Rathore, who took voluntary retirement from Army to enter politics, told IANS from Jaipur.
The 2004 Athens Olympics medallist, who Tuesday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said he would be more than happy to serve Indian sports in the "toughest phase" of his life.
"It is a decision made after a long thought and now I am up for any challenge," Rathore told IANS soon after joining the BJP at a rally addressed by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
The double trap shooter was cautious enough to say that much of his political future will depend on BJP's showing in the 2014 General Election next year.
"Everything comes at the right time. I would be happy to serve sports if given the opportunity. However, the election is still some time away. Whatever is helpful in building the nation, I would want to be a part of it," clearly hinting his aiming at national politics, though his state Rajasthan is going to have its assembly election in November.
Rathore also touched upon the state of Indian sport and the chaos leading to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) getting suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and wanted more sportspersons to get into the administration.
"Sportsmen must be part of governance. That is the only way to cleanse the existing system," he said.
"It (the IOA suspension) is a complicated issue and cannot be solved in a jiffy. It is really sad to see the athletes doing well and not being able to see their national flag or hear the national anthem at the podium ceremony. The IOA and IOC need to sort the matters out."
Will his army and sports background help him in politics?
"Absolutely. I am a shooter, precision comes naturally to me. Shooting and politics have amazing similarities and it should help me a lot in my new innings. Great focus, team work and rapport is required in both, besides one very important trait of never giving up."
Rathore says politics should be clean and for that the politicians should be of the calibre of Modi and former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje.
"We need men of stature, someone like Abraham Lincoln to look up to."
(Bharat Sharma can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)