Athletes divided over Salman’s appointment as the Goodwill Ambassador

After Yogeshwar Dutt, the Flying Sikh Milkha Singh and renowned Hockey player & former captain of Indian men’s team, Dhanraj Pillay have slammed the appointment of Bollywood Superstar Salman Khan as Goodwill Ambassador of the Indian contingent for the Rio Olympics.

Speaking about the appointment, the legendary figure of Indian sports said, “I don’t’ see the need to pick ambassador from Bollywood whereas the athletes are the best to be ambassadors.” Milkha feels that such an unprecedented appointment should be ‘revised’.

Clarifying that he had nothing personal against Salman, the Legendary Sprinter said that it is those who have represented the country in different sports, were the ideal people to be the ambassador.

Miffed with the appointment, he asked,“India has produced so many sportspersons who have given their sweat and blood for the country like PT Usha, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Ajit Pal and so many others. One of these could have been made a goodwill ambassador. What was the need to import a person from Bollywood?”
Speaking on the decision, Former captain of Indian Hockey Team, Dhanraj Pillay said, “I would like to see a sportsperson as brand ambassador. We have legendary players such as Milkha Singh, P T Usha, Abhinav Bindra. No doubt Salman is one of the best faces of Bollywood and whatever he says sells. But in sports I feel sportsperson should be ambassador.”
Same emotions were echoed by Divya Singh, former captain of Indian Basketball team, who in her tweets on the subject, said,” People who are abusing @DuttYogi (Yogeshwar Dutt) should know Actors play on written story and athletes make real life stories. Be a fan but have dignity. When India has its presence felt in Olympics why limelight should be given to non sports person? Our Heroes are @DuttYogi @NSaina (Saina Nehwal) @8_SardarSingh (Sardar Singh)

Salman was appointed as the Goodwill Ambassador to the Rio Bound Indian Contingent in an event at Olympic Bhawan, New Delhi on Saturday.

Earlier, Wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt had questioned the purpose of appointing a Goodwill Ambassador.

Abhinav Bindra, the Olympic Gold Medalist Shooter, however, supported the appointment of Salman as the Goodwill Ambassador. Tweeting on the appointment he wrote,”Dear @BeingSalmanKhan, am sure you will use your tremendous goodwill to help Indian Olympic Sport and Olympic athletes in their pursuit towards excellence.”

“Congratulations on being appointed ambassador of the Indian Olympic Team! An absolute honour which comes with great responsibility!” He added in another tweet.
Also supporting the decision were the Men’s Hockey Team’s Captain, Sardar Singh & Women Boxer, M C Mary Kom.

Meanwhile Indian Olympic Association vice-president Tarlochan Singh said that because it was a trend among youngsters to follow celebrities like Salman, they had appointed him Goodwill Ambassador. He added that Bollywood stars tend to draw more attention and that will get good publicity for the Games in India.

Mr. Rajeev Mehta, Secretary General of the Indian Olympic Association, talking about the appointment, said “We are very happy and thankful on Salman’s offer to support Olympic Sports in this country. This association is only a gesture and does not include any monetary consideration.”

Further he added,”He is the biggest Bollywood star in the country in terms of mass following and our key objective of bringing him on board is to draw maximum attention from the masses, due to which there will be more eyeballs and viewership which will eventually result in popularizing Olympic sports in the country.”

“We may appoint more icons from other walks of life like music, cricket, art culture and Olympic sports etc. Mr. Salman Khan is only being appointed from Bollywood segment and we are in talks with two other big names in music and cricket. We are more than willing to have as many icons including the likes of Ms. Anju Bobby George and Ms. PT Usha who have the capacity and capability to popularize Olympic sports in the country”, he concluded.



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