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Athletes divided, IOA firm on Salman as goodwill ambassador

first_imgNew Delhi, Apr 24 (PTI) Bollywood superstar Salman Khans appointment as the Indian Olympic contingents goodwill ambassador today kicked up a storm with star wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt and sprint legend Milkha Singh questioning the move even as the IOA and some other athletes backed the decision. Salman, who is playing the role of a wrestler in his upcoming film Sultan, was named goodwill ambassador by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) yesterday in the presence of star woman boxer M C Mary Kom, hockey captain Sardar Singh, and shooter Apurvi Chandela among others. The position itself is unprecedented and IOAs decision to pick Salman for it left the sporting fraternity divided with London Olympics bronze-medallist Yogeshwar and the legendary Milkha Singh leading the criticism. The IOA, however, stood firm on its decision to name Salman and said it would rope in more icons from music and cricket to motivate the Rio-bound athletes. “We are very happy and thankful on Salmans offer to support Olympic Sports in this country. This association is only a gesture and does not include any monetary consideration,” IOA Secretary General Rajiv Mehta said in a statement. “…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 popularising 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 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 popularise Olympic sports in the country,” he added. Earlier, Yogeshwar said Salman has done nothing to merit such an appointment. “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. PTI PM PMadvertisementlast_img read more