Olympic gold medallist Gurbax Singh and former national football captain Baichung Bhutia expressed different emotions over the appointment of Bollywood actor Salman Khan the goodwill ambassador of the Indian contingent in the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Gurbax said appointing a sports personality as the ambassador would have been more apt.
“I think there were several other eligible people from the sports fraternity who could have been made the brand ambassador for Olympics. Ideally, someone who has made some achievement for the country should have been chosen,” Gurbax said at an event organised by television channel Aaj Tak on Wednesday.
“By nominating Salman, you might get some sponsors but I don’t think that should be the criterion.”
Baichung, however, spoke out in favour of the Bollywood icon saying “there is nothing wrong in it” (Salman’s appointment as goodwill ambassador).
“Salman definitely did not go and say I want to be the ambassador. There is nothing wrong in it. If he can promote and make people aware of the Olympics then it is well and good,” Baichung told the media here on Wednesday at the Calcutta Sports Journalists’ Club’s annual awards ceremony.
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA)made the announcement on April 23 in New Delhi but the decision since then has received flak from certain sections of the sporting fraternity including the likes of legendary athlete Milkha Singh and wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt.
But Baichung believes Salman who essays the role of a wrestler in his upcoming film ‘Sultan’ will help promote Olympics in India.
Though he did not say it in as many words, Baichung hinted that the Bollywood star can grab more attention than Olympic gold winner Abhinav Bindra.
“Bollywood sells everywhere in India. Take any sports event for example there has to be a dose of Bollywood. Now if that is going to help India then nothing wrong in it,” he added.