Salman Khan as Olympics ambassador: Dad Salim comes to actor’s defence

  • PTI, New Delhi
  • Updated: Apr 26, 2016 09:48 IST
Salim took to Twitter to support his son, who plays a wrestler in his upcoming film Sultan, while also taking potshots at Milkha Singh. (AP)

Daddy Salim Khan cannot stand his son, Bollywood star Salman Khan, getting cornered by haters. The actor who has been appointed as the goodwill ambassador of India’s contingent for the upcoming Rio Olympics got mixed responses all day where some of the biggest name in sports were not happy with his selection.

Salim took to Twitter to support his son, who plays a wrestler in his upcoming film Sultan, while also taking potshots at Milkha Singh.

Indian Olympic Association Announces Bollywood Superstar Salman Khan as Goodwill Ambassador of Indian Contingent for Rio Olympics 2016 pose with qualified athlete MC Mary Kom during a function in New Delhi on Saturday. (PTI)

“Salman Khan may not have competed but is an A level swimmer cyclist and weight lifter.. Sportsmen are performing because of sports lovers like us,” Salim, 80, wrote.

50-year-old Khan’s appointment has been criticised by some top sportspersons, including star wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt and sprint legend Milkha Singh who have questioned IOA’s decision to go with the superstar over a sportsperson.

Milkha, whose life was turned into a blockbuster film Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, had said that sports personalities like PT Usha should have been considered by IOA instead of importing “a person from Bollywood.”

Reacting to this Salim said, “Milkhaji it is not Bollywood, it is the Indian Film Industry and that too the largest in the world.

“The same industry which resurrected you from fading away in oblivion.”

As a debate raged over the appointment, BJP MP and actor Hema Malini supported the decision of the Indian Olympic Association(IOA), saying Salman’s popularity is being utilised for a good cause.

However, another BJP leader and Haryana Health and Sports Minister Anil Vij disapproved of the decision. Vij said “filmy hero” will not bring medals for the country.

Batting legend Sunil Gavaskar saw nothing wrong in Salman’s appointment as Indian contingent’s brand ambassador for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. “Why not?”, he asked in response to a query on the matter.

Read: B-Town divided on Sallu’s selection as ambassador for Rio Olympics

Union Minister of State for Sports Sarbananda Sonowal said sentiments of sportspersons who are opposed to Salman’s appointment has been conveyed to the IOA. At the same time, the ministry encourages prominent figures from different walks of life to encougrage sports in the country,he said.

Indian boxer Mary Kom, right, looks away shyly as Bollywood actor Salman Khan speaks about her at an event to announce Khan as the goodwill ambassador for Rio Olympics 2016 in New Delhi, India, Saturday, April 23, 2016. (AP)

“People love him so much. So if he is the brand ambassador, what is the problem,” Hema told reporters when asked to comment on Salman’s appointment.

Asked about his alleged involvement in the hit-and-run case in Mumbai, she said that episode was a “section of his life...his popularity has to be utilised for a good cause.”

Vij said wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt should have been made the brand ambassador.

In a tweet, Vij said “Yogeshwar Dutt forget Salman Khan. You are a real hero, Salman is a filmy hero. Real heroes, not filmy hero will bring medals for the country.”

Recently Yogeshwar Dutt, an Olympic medalist, had said in social media that the appointment of Salman was not a good decision.

Vij was of the view that IOA should have appointed some renowned Indian sportsman.

Yogeshwar Dutt has brought many laurels for the country in wrestling, he said.

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