Bollywood actor Salman Khan has been named goodwill ambassador of the Indian contingent for the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro — an unprecedented appointment in the run-up to the quadrennial extravaganza. The announcement was made in the presence of Olympic medallists and Rio star athletes such as boxer MC Mary Kom, hockey captain Sardar Singh, and shooter Apurvi Chandela, among others. The next Olympics will be held at the Brazilian capital of Rio de Janeiro from August 5-21, 2016.
The association between Salman Khan and the Indian Olympic Association was facilitated by IOA’s official marketing agency IOS Sports & Entertainment. Speaking on this new association with IOA Salman said, “I am honoured that Indian Olympic Association has chosen me as the goodwill ambassador for the Indian contingent for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.”
Commenting on the announcement IOA President N. Ramachandran said, “His association will not only attract sports lovers but also help motivate the players to do well in the Olympics. We are sure our association with Salman Khan will go a long way.”
The athletes too welcomed the move with Mary Kom saying, “This is a big moment for all of us that Mr. Salman Khan has joined us as our family member during Rio Olympics. My preparations for Rio Olympic qualification are going on and I will be competing in the World Championship soon.”
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA), which made the announcement at its headquarters here, chose Salman from a list of two to three candidates which also included Shah Rukh Khan and veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan.
However, the IOA reportedly chose Khan as he is considered to be more connected with the youth and is known to be a sports enthusiast. The 50-year-old is a youth icon and an inspiration for bodybuilding fans across the country. His latest film ‘Sultan’ is a sports-drama which sees Salman in the role of a wrestler who rises from small town origins to achieve international success.
“We welcome Salman Khan as the goodwill ambassador of the Indian contingent for Rio Olympics and his association is in line with our focus to create the required excitement in the country. His association will not only attract sports lovers but also help motivate the players to do well in the Olympics. We are sure our association with Salman Khan will go a long way,” IOA president N. Ramachandran said in a statement. This is the first time that a Bollywood superstar will be a goodwill ambassador for the Indian contingent at the Olympics. A host of sports stars including M.C. Mary Kom, Sardar Singh, Ritu Rani, Deepika Kumari, Apurvi Chandela and Manika Batra were also present on the occasion.
Praising the sportspersons for their hard work and dedication, Khan hoped that they will be able to win medals at the Olympics. ” It is a matter of great national pride that our athletes are performing better and better at the Olympic Games and I think we should all join hands in giving them every support and cheer for them so that Rio 2016 becomes our best Olympic tally. They are extremely talented and hard working. They are not here due to anybody’s recommendation. They are here because they are the best in the country. That is the reason why they are going to the Olympics.”