first_imgMilkha, who won gold in 1958 and 1962 Asian Games, said the fact that no Indian sportsperson had been picked up as ambassador saddened him. “I want to make it clear that I am not against Salman Khan, but the decision of the IOA is wrong and the Government should intervene in the matter. This is for the first time I am seeing a Bollywood hero being made goodwill ambassador for Olympics. I want to ask has Bollywood ever made any sportsperson an ambassador for any of their mega event?” he said. “I want that the decision to name Salman Khan as ambassador should be revised,” he said. The sentiment was echoed by the likes of former hockey star Dhanraj Pillay. “I would like to see a sportspeson as brand ambassador. We have legendary players such as Milkha Singh, P T Usha, Abhinav Bindra. No doubt Salman is one of the best faces of Bollywood and whatever he says sells. But in sports I feel sportperson should be ambassador,” Pillay said. However, Sardar and Mary Kom felt that the Bollywood celebritys mass appeal will help raise awareness about Olympic sports ahead of the Games in Rio de Janeiro in August. “Salman has a huge fan base. He has good views on sports and its a good thing for Indian sports that he has come on board. A lot of people are getting connected to Olympic sports because of him. (But) People are entitled to their views. I respect their opinion,” Sardar said. “It hasnt happened before, its a good thing for the athletes. Its good for us to have a brand ambassador like him,” opined Mary Kom, a bronze-medallist from the 2012 London Olympics. Commonwealth Games gold-medallist discus thrower Krishna Poonia said although an athlete would have been a better choice, Salmans popularity is undeniable. “There is no dearth of athletes in our country. There is P T Usha, Sachin Tendulkar, so many who have done us proud. The public, however, loves filmstars and probably it was thought that it would help popularise Olympic sports. I wish all the luck in his new role,” Poonia said. PTI PM SUN AH AHadvertisementlast_img

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