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An unsporting cut!

An unsporting cut!
Highlights

Awfully disgusting! That has been the reaction by a vast majority of Indians, particularly from the sports fraternity, when actor Salman Khan was named as the Goodwill Ambassador for the Indian contingent during the ensuing Rio Olympics.

Awfully disgusting! That has been the reaction by a vast majority of Indians, particularly from the sports fraternity, when actor Salman Khan was named as the Goodwill Ambassador for the Indian contingent during the ensuing Rio Olympics.

Somehow, one gets a feeling that either the Union government or the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), or possibly both, have lost their way mid-stream. At a time when the country is looking up to those making it to Rio for winning global laurels, our administrators are taking things a tad too easy.

Pray what can the actor do to motivate the athletes to raise the bar at an event that is considered the greatest sporting spectacle known to mankind? IOA comprises a shady bunch of characters and the president sits rather uncomfortably on the throne as he is not sure when he could be dethroned.

The Association’s contention that the Bollywood superstar, who has a legion of fans and courts controversy every other day, could boost the popularity stakes sounds like a childish argument that has neither a base nor a sense of positivity. One finds it is ridiculously insane that Olympic sports do not get enough viewership.

It is perhaps possible in the Indian context where cricket commands mindboggling following. Even otherwise, a Salman Khan cannot possibly compel an individual to stay glued to the television set when an Indian is vying for Olympic glory. A country that may not boast of sensational Olympians does have some outstanding world conquerors, who make for a better choice as goodwill ambassadors, like Milkha Singh, PT Usha, Prakash Padukone, or anyone from hockey’s golden era.

Bar the film-goer no one else would recognise Salman Khan, who was rather sheepish when he announced that his favourites were the erratic Saina Nehwal and Vijender Singh, whose participation hangs in the balance. Lest the honourable gentlemen forget, our sportspersons make for the finest of ambassadors because they help put the country on the world map with their exploits in championships that matter.

Abhinav Bindra is not wrong because while backing the actor’s appointment, he contends that it should not be a day’s publicity gimmick. Perhaps, the actor can generate an interest but only to a little extent. The best reaction has come from Yogeshwar Dutt - What has this Salman done in sport. Everybody has the right to promote movies in India, but Olympics are not there to promote films.

Why are you fooling the public? That is the essence of the disgust that is spreading across the nation. Indians would do well if they take a leaf from the Australians, who gave the torch-carrying honour to Cathy Freeman, the first aborigine to make it to the Olympics at Sydney. Americans bestowed it on an ailing Mohammed Ali in what is still considered as the most poignant movement in Olympic history.

If Salman Khan can really boost the morale of Indian sportspersons on D-Day then why not make him the face of Indian Army or the anti-terrorist squad so that more youngsters can make them their career choices.

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