Salman Khan, who will soon channel the role of a wrestler in Sultan, has been appointed as the Goodwill Ambassador of India’s Olympic contingent for the upcoming 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro by the Indian Olympic Association. However, that has spurred up quite a storm amongst members of the sports fraternity, with London Olympics bronze-medalist Yogeshwar and the legendary Milkha Singh leading the criticism on IOA’s decision.
With sports icons like Sachin Tendulkar and Sania Mirza, who have quickly become global stars, the debate on signing a Bollywood actor only seems legit. Not only does Salman lack sporting credentials, his life has been nothing short of a controversy; his 2002 hit-and-run case has been challenged yet again. And for these very reasons, the star has been mocked over his appointment across social media platforms.
While star boxer Mary Kom and hockey captain Sardar Singh have extended their support to the actor by being present at the conferring ceremony, others like the 33-year-old wrestler, Yogeshwar, have argued that a sporting personality would have been more apt in this position.
“Everybody has the right to promote movies in India, but Olympics is not a place to promote films,” the wrestler said, according to The Indian Express. “Sportspersons like PT Usha and Milkha Singh strived hard for the nation during difficult times. But what has this ambassador done in sports. What will happen by the appointment of an ambassador? If you had to do this drama, then why not appoint a sportsperson? The country needs medals, not sponsors.”
Milkha Singh, who was the subject of 2013 biopic Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, also holds a similar opinion. “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?” he asserted.