India’s only individual Olympic Gold medal winner at Beijing Olympic Games 2008 Abhinav Bindra has accepted the Indian Olympic Association’s invitation to be one of the country’s goodwill ambassadors for the upcoming Rio Games. “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 honour. I respectfully accept this with gratitude,” Bindra, the lone Indian Olympic individual gold medallist, wrote on Twitter.
“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 said.
“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,” added Bindra, who won the gold medal in men’s 10m air rifle shooting event in 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The IOA’s decision to make Bollywood actor Salman Khan as goodwill ambassador left the sporting fraternity divided with London Olympics bronze-medallist Yogeshwar Dutt and legendary sprinter Milkha Singh questioning the move.
Meanwhile, those in support of Salman believe that his selection would give a glamour quotient to the Indian team’s presence at the Olympics and would also help in drawing maximum attention from the masses for the Games.
Earlier in the day, the under-fire IOA had approached cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar for the same post with reports of the apex sporting body considering ‘more people’ for the role. Tendulkar is yet to make up his mind for the role. Oscar-winning music composer A R Rahman is also been approached for the same.
It may be recalled that few days back the Kolkata Knight Riders skipper and former India opener Gautam Gambhir had strongly backed Abhinav Bindra for the coveted role by saying in a statement : “I think there is no shortage of real sportsmen in this country. People have done massive things for the country and for the Olympic sports as well. I would have liked someone like Abhinav Bindra, someone who could have been a great ambassador.”