NEW DELHI: Celebrated shooter Abhinav Bindra was today roped in as goodwill ambassador of India’s Olympic contingent alongside Bollywood star Salman Khan, while cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar was also approached for the role after the controversial actor’s appointment created an uproar.
India’s first and only individual Olympic gold-medalist, Bindra said he received IOA’s invitation today and immediately agreed for the role.
IOA has also approached Tendulkar and Oscar-winning music composer A R Rahman with a similar offer.
“Received a letter this afternoon from the President and Secretary General of the IOA inviting me to be a goodwill ambassador. I am humbled that they thought I am worthy enough for this honor. I respectfully accept this with gratitude,” Bindra said in a series of tweets.
The rifle shooter, who is also a former World Championships gold-medalist, will be competing in the Rio Games come August and said he would write to all the Olympics-bound athletes to motivate them.
“I have lived my life for the OG &have always done my best to work for the betterment of the Olympic movement in India &I will continue. While my focus will be to perform at Rio, I will be writing to every member of the Indian Olympic team &offering them any help they may want,” he added.
“Every Indian Olympian is a champion in his or her own right I would just be sharing my experiences with them! I would be open to doing this until the 15th of July &after that my focus will completely be towards my own performance until my event.”
Tendulkar and Rahman, however, are yet to respond to the IOA’s offer. “We are in communication with Sachin Tendulkar and A R Rahman to become brand ambassadors of the Indian Olympic contingent. We are yet to get their reply,” said Indian Olympic Association (IOA) vice president Tarlochan Singh.
“We will rope in more people. Salman Khan will also remain,” he added.
Salman’s appointment as goodwill ambassador had kicked up a storm last week when star wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt and sprint legend Milkha Singh questioned the move even though the IOA and some other athletes backed the decision.
Salman, who is playing the role of a wrestler in his upcoming film ‘Sultan’, was named goodwill ambassador by the in the presence of star woman boxer M C Mary Kom, hockey captain Sardar Singh, and shooter Apurvi Chandela among others.
Yogeshwar started the debate by tweeting that Salman has done nothing to merit such an appointment but the IOA stood firm on its decision and said that it would rope in more icons from cricket, music and other sports to motivate the Olympic contingent ahead of the Games in August.
The London Olympics bronze-medalist, today welcomed the IOA’s decision to rope in Bindra besides approaching Tendulkar.
“I am very happy. Thank You IOA. Jai Hind,” Yogeshwar tweeted reacting to Bindra’s appointment.
“I welcome the IOA’s decision to rope in Sachin as brand ambassador of the Indian Olympic contingent. Jai Hind,” he said in a tweet in Hindi.–PTI