With Ria, Patiala royal family extends its rich sporting legacy | punjab | Hindustan Times
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With Ria, Patiala royal family extends its rich sporting legacy

Carrying forward the sporting legacy of the Patiala royal family, trap shooter Ria Rajeshwari Kumari has made it to the senior national squad for the forthcoming ISSF shotgun World Championship in Italy and the World Cup in Azerbaijan.

punjab Updated: May 20, 2015 17:18 IST
HT Correspondents
Ria-Rajeshwari-Kumari-with-father-Randhir-Singh
Ria-Rajeshwari-Kumari-with-father-Randhir-Singh

Carrying forward the sporting legacy of the Patiala royal family, trap shooter Ria Rajeshwari Kumari has made it to the senior national squad for the forthcoming ISSF shotgun World Championship in Italy and the World Cup in Azerbaijan. With this, she has become the fourth generation of the erstwhile princely state of Patiala to don the senior India team jersey and the first woman from the family to be part of the international sporting arena.

Ria, daughter of shotgun shooter Randhir Singh, secured a place in the national team after her showing in the selection trials held in Patiala on Tuesday. Ria’s father Randhir represented the country for a record 31 years (1964-1994) and holds the distinction of competing in six successive Olympic Games. He had also won gold in the 1978 Bangkok Asian Games.

“The Patiala family has a long legacy in sports and I am proud to take it forward. It’s just the beginning for me and, with the blessings of elders, I want to make the country proud,” said 23-year-old Ria, who got married in Delhi in 2013.

“It’s good to see the fourth generation of the family donning the India jersey. I am happy that she is competing in my event — trap shooting. Hope to see her win medals for the country in the coming years. Really feels nice to see the next generation doing well,” said Randhir.

Ria’s great grandfather Bhupinder Singh, who was the Maharaja of Patiala from 1900 to 1938, was an avid cricketer and the first from the family to represent the county. He led the Indian side which toured England in 1911 and played for the famous Marylebone Cricket Club. He was also selected to lead the country’s first Test tour side in 1932, but because of ill health he couldn’t accompany the side.

Bhupinder’s elder son Yadavindra Singh (Randhir’s uncle) represented India in a Test match against England in 1934. Yadavindra was the last ruler of Patiala. Bhupinder’s younger son Bhalindra Singh (Randhir’s father) played 13 first-class cricket matches between 1939 and 1954.

The other sportspersons from the family are Yadavindra’s son Captain Amarinder Singh, who is a former national shotgun champion, and grandson Raninder Singh, a former international shooter and president of the National Rifle Association of India.