New Delhi: Upset with the appointment of Salman Khan as the goodwill ambassador of India’s Olympic contingent, legendary sprinter Milkha Singh said it would have been better to pick a sportsperson in his place.
The ‘Flying Sikh’ also demanded that the unprecedented appointment in the run-up to the quadrennial extravaganza should be “revised”. But he made it clear that he had nothing personal against Salman.
Yogeshwar, the London Olympics bronze-medallist, said he cannot understand what purpose such an appointment will serve for the athletes.
“Everybody has the right to promote movies in India, but Olympics is not a place to promote films.” Yogeshwar tweeted in Hindi.
“Can anyone tell me what is the role of goodwill ambassador? Why are you fooling the public?” he added.
“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?” he asked.
“I am of the view that our sportspersons; be those from shooting, athletics, volleyball or other sports, they are the real ambassadors of India who would represent the country in the Olympics. Still, if we had to pick an ambassador, it could have been from the sporting arena,” the 85-year-old legend Milkha Singh told PTI in Chandigarh.
“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 asked.
Milkha, 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.
Notably, the announcement regarding Salman was made in Delhi yesterday in the presence of star athletes such as boxer MC Mary Kom, hockey captain Sardar Singh and shooter Apurvi Chandela, among others.
All of them had backed the appointment.