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IOA defends appointment of Salman Khan as Indian contingent’s Goodwill Ambassador for Rio

Salman Khan's appointment has triggered a furore with star wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt and Milkha Singh questioning the move.

By: PTI | New Delhi |
Updated: April 24, 2016 6:42:34 pm
Salman Khan pose with Mary Kom Salman Khan was named goodwill ambassador by the Indian Olympic Association. (Source: PTI)

On the backfoot after Salman Khan’s appointment as goodwill ambassador of India’s Olympic contingent was criticised by some top sportspersons, the 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.

READ: Yogeshwar Dutt questions Salman Khan’s appointment

“…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 popularizing 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.

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 Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Saturday in the presence of star woman boxer M C Mary Kom, hockey captain Sardar Singh, and shooter Apurvi Chandela among others.

READ: Someone from the sporting fraternity should have been appointed: Milkha Singh

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 popularize Olympic sports in the country,” Mehta said.

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