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.
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.”
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.