Jhulan Goswami (r) and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (l)  © Getty Images & AFP
Jhulan Goswami (r) and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (l) © Getty Images & AFP

Kolkata: Indian women cricket team pace spearhead Jhulan Goswami is excited at the appointment of Olympic medallist shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore as the sports minister and said he can take the country to new heights in sports. “Being a sportsperson, we can all relate to him and I’m so excited,” the two-time World Cup finalist told PTI on the sidelines of a programme.

“He has gone through the same struggle and is very much aware of the difficulties faced by an athlete…what it takes to win a medal at the highest level,” she said of Rathore, who won a silver in double trap event at the 2004 Athens Olympics. “We definitely hope that he will improve the infrastructure and ensure a better upkeep of the existing facilities to take Indian sport to new heights,” she added.

Jhulan said women’s cricket was one of the fastest growing sports in the world and it would be a great idea to introduce it in the Olympics. “I am not aware of any development. But it would be a wonderful idea to have women’s cricket in Olympics, something the whole world looks forward to,” she said.

The chief executive of the ICC, David Richardson, has said that “the time is right” to make an application for participation at the 2024 Games but the BCCI has been reluctant on the issue. The highest wicket taker in women’s ODI was at a celebration programme of Little Laureates Pre-School on the eve of Teacher’s Day. A social awareness drive ‘Pehle Pre- School’ was announced.

The lanky pacer remembered her childhood coach Swapan Sadhu and said she would not have come this far without his foresight. “When I first told my parents about my passion for the game it was like ‘Hiroshima-Nagasaki atomic bombings’ at home but my coach convinced my parents.

“At that time, women’s cricket was not heard of by many. I’m here because of his foresight and untiring dedication for the sport. He felt women should have their own identity,” Jhulan, whose journey had begun from the Vivekananda Park, said.

At a time when e-sport like killer game ‘Blue Whale Challenge’ has hooked the teenagers, she urged the kids to take up any outdoor sport.

“Everything begins at school. At least two to three hours to any sport rather than wasting time on internet games will help in physical health as well as character-building,” Jhulan, a student of Chakdah Bapuji Balika Vidyamandir, said.