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United 'Khan'dan: Salim Khan takes a dig at Milkha Singh to defend Salman

Bollywood superstar Salman Khan's father Salim takes to Twitter to defend son's appointment as goodwill ambassador of the Indian Olympic contingent and slam 'Flying Sikh' Milkha Singh

Bollywood superstar Salman Khan's appointment as goodwill ambassador of the Indian Olympic contingent has left the sports fraternity divided.

Upset with the appointment of a 50-year-old Bollywood superstar over a sportsperson, legendary sprinter Milkha Singh had on Sunday opined that it would have been better to pick a sportsperson in his place. The 'Flying Sikh' had also demanded that the unprecedented appointment in the run-up to the quadrennial extravaganza be "revised".

Monday saw scriptwriter Salim Khan take to Twitter to defend his son and 'take down' the 'Flying Sikh'.

Salim and Salman Khan
Salim and Salman Khan. File Pic/AFP

"Salman Khan may not have competed but is an A level swimmer cyclist and weight lifter (sic)... Sportsmen are performing because of sports lovers like us," the 8-year-old Bollywood veteran wrote on the micro blogging site. 

Salim Khan also suggested that Milkha Singh not target the film industry since it was thanks to Bollywood that he was back in the public eye after his life was turned into a blockbuster film "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag". 

Salim said, "Milkhaji it is not Bollywood, it is the Indian Film Industry and that too the largest in the world. The same industry which resurrected you from fading away in oblivion."

Salim took a dig at Milkha Singh even on television. During an interview with a leading news channel, he said, “Many sportsmen who fade away with time are revived via films. Sometimes we feel ashamed of the fact that we were unaware of such sportsmen in our country after watching the films made on them."

"Salman Khan is a popular person... When he goes to schools, colleges and talks to students and children about the sports, they will definitely listen...” he added.

Salim said that Salman, who plays a wrestler in his forthcoming film 'Sultan', "doesn't need such platforms or controversies to sell his films".

"Salman's films sell way before they are released. If his film is good, of course they will sell, if not then it will flop like some of his projects have in the past. Salman Khan's film doesn't work only by his name, they work because of the entire team's effort," he stated.

Here are Salim Khan's tweets:

WHAT MILKA SINGH SAID

Upset with the appointment of Salman Khan as the goodwill ambassador of India's Olympic contingent, legendary sprinter Milkha Singh said it would have been better to pick a sportsperson in his place.

The 'Flying Sikh' also demanded that the unprecedented appointment in the run-up to the quadrennial extravaganza should be "revised".

But he made it clear that he had nothing personal against Salman.

Milkha Singh
Milkha Singh

"I am of the view that our sportspersons; be those from shooting, athletics, volleyball or other sports, they are the real ambassadors of India who would represent the country in the Olympics. Still, if we had to pick an ambassador, it could have been from the sporting arena," the 85-year-old legend told PTI.

"India has produced so many sportspersons who have given their sweat and blood for the country like PT Usha, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Ajit Pal and so many others. One of these could have been made a goodwill ambassador. What was the need to import a person from Bollywood?" he asked.

Milkha, who won gold in 1958 and 1962 Asian Games, said the fact that no Indian sportsperson had been picked up as ambassador saddened him.

"I want to make it clear that I am not against Salman Khan, but the decision of the IOA is wrong and the Government should intervene in the matter. This is for the first time I am seeing a Bollywood hero being made goodwill ambassador for Olympics. I want to ask has Bollywood ever made any sportsperson an ambassador for any of their mega event?" he said.

"I want that the decision to name Salman Khan as ambassador should be revised," he said.

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