IOA defends Salman appointment for Rio, says will rope in more icons

  • PTI, New Delhi
  • Updated: Apr 24, 2016 20:25 IST
Salman Khan was appointed as the goodwill ambassador of the Indian contingent at the Rio Olympics. (AFP)

On the backfoot after Salman Khan’s appointment as goodwill ambassador of India’s Rio Olympics contingent was criticised by some top sportspersons, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Sunday said it would also rope in icons from music, cricket, and other sports to motivate the athletes.

“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,” 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,” he added.

Read | Salman Khan to be India’s goodwill ambassador at Rio Olympics

Salman’s appointment has triggered a furore with star wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt and sprint legend Milkha Singh questioning the move.

Salman, who is playing the role of a wrestler in his upcoming film ‘Sultan’, was named goodwill ambassador by the IOA on Saturday 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 IOA’s decision to pick Salman for it left the sporting fraternity divided with London Olympics bronze-medallist Yogeshwar and the legendary Milkha leading the criticism.

“Mr Salman Khan is only being appointed from 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,” Mehta said.

Read more:

Wrestler Yogeshwar not happy with Salman as Rio goodwill ambassador

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