I would like younger sporting icons as Games ambassador: Kalmadi

By Veturi Srivatsa, IANS,

New Delhi : Commonwealth Games organising committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi Tuesday said he would prefer younger sporting icons as brand ambassadors amid demands that Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan be made the brand ambassador of the mega event to be held Oct 3-14.

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“Personally, I would like younger sporting icons as brand ambassadors not Bollywood stars,” Kalmadi told IANS.

“That does not mean I am against Bachchan,” he said even as a political controversy swirled around the presence of the megastar at a government function in Mumbai.

Asked about BJP leader V.K. Malhotra’s suggestion that Bachchan be made the brand ambassador, Kalmadi said the executive board or the organising committee had not given a thought to it and only it was authorised to take a decision on it.

Reacting to Kalmadi’s remarks, Malhotra said the chairman had no authority to take an “arbitrary” decision since it is only the organising committee that can take a decision on such matters.

“What does he mean by younger sporting icons? He should look at the age of the people connected with the Games, starting from the prime minister, sports minister, Delhi chief minister, the union urban development minister, Lt. governor of Delhi to himself (Kalmadi),” Malhotra told IANS.

“What has age to do with the appointment of the brand ambassadors?” he asked.

In a letter to Kalmadi Saturday, Malhotra, who is also the Indian Olympic Association senior vice-president and the executive board member of the Games organising committee, said that given the Bollywood superstar’s credentials and star status, he would be the best choice for being the brand ambassador of India’s biggest sporting event.