New Delhi: Legendary Indian athlete Milkha Singh on Sunday joined the bandwagon of sports personalities condemning the Indian Olympic Association's decision to appoint Bollywood actor Salman Khan as the Goodwill Brand Ambassador of the Indian contingent in the Rio Games.
Downplaying the need of sending a Bollywood celebrity in Rio de Janeiro, Milkha insisted the athletes going to the Olympics are the biggest ambassadors of the country.
"It is a wrong decision taken by the IOA. I don't see the need to send an ambassador whereas the athletes going to the Olympics are the ambassadors for our country. The IOA should not have done this. It is unfair to send a Bollywood celebrity as the brand ambassadors for sports. The government must intervene in this regard so that the IOA can reconsider the decision," Milkha said in an exclusive interview to ANI.
"P.T Usha, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and Ajit Pal are more capable to be ambassadors. There are many prominent sports personalities, who have contributed a lot for the country. So, they deserve to be the ambassador," he added.
Wishing luck to the athletes ahead of the prestigious sports event, Milkha said that it would be a moment of pride for the country if they perform well in the Olympics.
"Since the time of independence India has not been able to grab a medal in athletics. So, I hope the IOA should instead focus on increasing the standard of games in India," he added.
Meanwhile, defending the decision to appoint Bollywood actor Salman Khan as the Indian contingents goodwill ambassador for the Rio Olympics 2016, Indian Olympic Associations vice president Tarlochan Singh has said that the youth look towards such film celebrities and there is no harm in utilizing them. When celebrities who appeal to public come forward to help, naturally we get more publicity, which is good for sports, Singh said. Trend among youth is that they look towards such film celebrities. If we utilise them, theres no harm. Were getting his (Salman Khan) help and not giving him anything. The IOA is not paying him a penny, he said, responding to the criticism by several former Indian Olympians over Salmans appointment.