The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) declared Salman Khan as the goodwill ambassador for the Indian contingent at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Salman Khan is the first Bollywood celebrity to be the goodwill ambassador for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The schedule of Olympic Games is starts from 5th August 2016.
Bollywood Bajarangi Bhaijaan Salman Khan is the most loved actor from Bollywood. Salman is playing the role of wrestler in his upcoming film ‘Sultan’. The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has announced Salman Khan as the goodwill ambassador for the Olympic Games 2016 on 23rd April 2016, Saturday in the presence of star woman boxer M C Mary Kom, hockey captain Sardar Singh, and shooter Apurvi Chandela among others.
IOA Secretary General Rajiv Mehta said that, “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.”
“Mr Salman Khan is only being appointed from the 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 added.
But wrestler Yogeshwar and runner Milkha Singh are not happy for appointment of Salman Khan as the goodwill ambassador. Legendary athlete Milkha Singh on Sunday joined wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt in condemning the decision made by the Indian Olympic Association as they feel that a sportsperson should have been chosen for the role.
Yogeshwar, the London Olympics bronze-medallist tweeted in hindi that, “Everybody has the right to promote movies in India, but Olympics is not a place to promote films.” He said, “Can anyone tell me what is the role of goodwill ambassador? Why are you fooling the public?”
Yogeshwer asked, “What will happen by the appointment of an ambassador? If you had to do this drama, then why not appoint a sportsperson?” He said that, “The country needs medals, not sponsors.”
“If Salman can actively boost Olympic sports, more power to him. If it is just for a day’s publicity, then it is of no use.” Bindra added.
Milkha Singh too felt that the IOA has taken a wrong decision and should reconsider the move. Milkha Singh 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?”
Milkha Singh won the gold in 1958 and 1962 Asian Games. He said that, “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 event? I want that the decision to name Salman Khan as ambassador should be revised.”
However, Sardar and Mary Kom felt that the Bollywood celebrity’s mass appeal will help raise awareness about Olympic sports ahead of the Games in Rio de Janeiro in 5th August 2016.
Sardar said that, “Salman has a huge fan base. He has good views on sports and it’s a good thing for Indian sports that he has come on board. A lot of people are getting connected to Olympic sports because of him. (But) People are entitled to their views. I respect their opinion.”
Mary Kom, a bronze-medallist from the 2012 London Olympics said that, “It hasn’t happened before, it’s a good thing for the athletes. It’s good for us to have a brand ambassador like him.”