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Athens hero Rathore thanks army

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
Last updated on: August 21, 2004 21:08 IST
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Olympic silver medallist Major Rajyavardhan S Rathore today remarked that it is the determination of players backed up by proper facilities and training that brings medals and not the sheer population of a country. The Indian Army, he said, had given him these things.

Major Rathore, who returned to the capital from Athens by an Emirates flight, was speaking to reporters in the presence of the chief of army staff, General N C Vij.

Click here for an exclusive interview with Rajyavardhan Rathore

Click for bigger imageRathore was given a rousing reception by army officers, sportspersons, and sports lovers. There was a virtual stampede as he emerged from the arrival lounge. Some of the assembled journalists, including women reporters, fell down in a bid to get a comment from the hero.

Members of the Rathore family could not get close to the major as he was jostled by scores of reporters and television crews. Eventually he had to ascend a makeshift stand so that he could display his medal to the overenthusiastic crews.

Once he got out of the melee, Rathore drove home with his son Manav. After meeting the family, he called on Gen Vij to share his experiences with the chief.

Rathore looked relaxed as he fielded questions from reporters with ease. He snubbed one reporter who tried to be smart by calling him 'Rajatvardhan' Singh Rathore. "Don't call me Rajatvardhan," he said, "because I still have time to have a go at the gold in the Beijing Olympic Games."

Gen Vij announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh for Rathore and promised the army's full support for his bid to win gold at Beijing 2008.

The man behind Rathore's success
Dutt had 'shot' Rathore in 1970!

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi