Salman Khan was named goodwill ambassador of the Indian contingent for the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, but this decision has come with subsequent negative and positive reactions.
Speaking on this new association with IOA Salman said, “I am honoured that Indian Olympic Association has chosen me as the goodwill ambassador for the Indian contingent for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
“It is a matter of great national pride that our athletes are performing better and better at the Olympic Games and I think we should all join hands in giving them every support and cheer for them so that Rio 2016 becomes our best Olympic tally.”
However, post this announcement there has been outrage from fellow athletes as well as social media. Seeming like unnecessary film promotion for Khan’s upcoming film Sultan, the Indian Olympic Associaton’s decision has not been received well.
At the forefront of the criticism of the appointment of Salman Khan as the ambassador are Milkha Singh and Yogeshwar Dutt.
While Milkha Singh said that he has nothing personal against Salman, he would have preferred if a fellow sportsman was picked instead.
“I am of the view that our sportspersons — be those from shooting, athletics, volleyball or other sports — are the real ambassadors of India who would represent the country in the Olympics. Still, if we had to pick an ambassador, it could have been from the sporting arena,” the 85-year-old legend.
“I want to make it clear that I am not against Salman Khan, but the decision of the IOA is wrong and the Government should intervene in the matter. This is for the first time I am seeing a Bollywood hero being made goodwill ambassador for Olympics. I want to ask, has Bollywood ever made any sportsperson an ambassador for any of their mega events?” he said, adding, “I want that the decision to name Salman Khan as ambassador be revised.”
Meanwhile Yogeshwar Dutt, the London Olympics bronze-medallist, said he cannot understand what purpose such an appointment will serve for the athletes.
“Everybody has the right to promote movies in India, but Olympics is not a place to promote films,” Yogeshwar tweeted in Hindi. “Can anyone tell me what is the role of goodwill ambassador? Why are you fooling the public?” he added.
“The country needs medals, not sponsors,” said Dutt, on twitter.