Rio Olympics 2016: Salman Khan questions the reaction to the appointment of Sachin Tendulkar and AR Rahman as goodwill ambassadors
Bollywood superstar Salman Khan has questioned the reaction to the appointment of cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and music maestro AR Rahman as Goodwill ambassadors for the upcoming Rio Olympics.
The Indian Olympic Association(IOA) had appointed Khan as the first goodwill ambassador for the Olympics, but the news did not go down well with the masses and the 50-year-old found himself in the midst of much furore, with people from various walks of life questioning his nomination.
Sportspersons including Milkha Singh, Yogeshwar Dutt among others also voiced their concerns at the appointment of the Bollywood star, citing that he had no background in sports. However, the IOA along with a few Bollywood celebrities vehemently backed awarding the ambassadorship to him.
After Khan, the IOA nominated Sachin Tendulkar, Abhinav Bindra and A.R. Rahman as their other three goodwill ambassadors. And while the news was welcomed by the general public, Khan does not share the same opinion.
The 50-year-old feels that the media should have made the same ruckus following the appointment of Tendulkar and Rahman, as they did when he himself was appointed.
In the heat of the moment, Khan also questioned the credentials of the Oscar-winning music composer, citing that 49-year-old has not participated in any sport whatsoever. ‘Bhai’, as he is fondly addressed by his fans, went on to implicate that Tendulkar had only ever participated in one sport.
According to the ‘Dabangg’ star, there is a gulf between the media coverage on his appointment to those of the master blaster and the legendary music composer.
Speaking in an interview with Hindustan Times, Salman said: “The media should have done the same when Sachin and Rahman were roped in. Why didn't that happen? Why didn't the media give them the same coverage that they gave me? In their case too, while one isn't a sportsperson, the other has only played one sport.
“Does Rahman need a state level certificate or a national-level medal to be called a sportsperson? In fact, all the kids who have tried out certain sports and haven't won a medal, aren't sportspersons? All the kids who follow a sportsperson aren't sportspersons? So why just pick me?"
The 50-year-old also retorted to questions that he was targeted due to the pending court cases against him and cited the example of the many politicians who have court cases against them but are still allowed to have a say in the running of the country.
Salman highlighted that the country is more important than the Olympics and if there is so much fuss about his appointment as a goodwill ambassador then the same media attention should be afforded to the politicians as well. He even agreed to step down from his ambassadorship if these so called ‘dirty’ politicians also left their places.
“So you have issues with one person who has court cases becoming the Olympics Goodwill ambassador. But there are so many politicians who have court cases against them? Desh zyaada important hai ya Olympics? (What is more important, the country or the Olympics?) For me, the country is important so I am ready to leave my post as the ambassador if the politicians also leave. There are so many people who have scams, corruption, and rapes but they are still there."
India is meanwhile preparing to send its largest ever contingent to the Games and will be hoping for a considerable improvement in their medal haul from the 2012 London Games, where India had record haul of six medal, although none of them were gold.