The mess left after the Commonwealth Games prompted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to replace sports and youth affairs minister Manohar Singh Gill with Ajay Maken in Monday's cabinet reshuffle.
Gill, 74, who was also blamed for the corruption-hit Games, was shunted to the low-profile statistics and programme implementation ministry as the prime minister went to a younger 47-year-old Maken, who is a cricket and golf enthusiast.
Maken said his challenge will be to see Indian athletes improving their performance at the international level.
"We have a huge population but that doesn't reflect on the medals won at the international stage. We have done well in the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games and I would like to continue the legacy. I will meet officials and then decide on priorities to work on," Maken said.
Maken, a former speaker of the Delhi Legislative Assembly, is a Congress Member of Parliament from New Delhi and was a minister of state for home affairs. He has also been minister of state in the ministry of urban development.