New Delhi, May 4: Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar accepted the Indian Olympic Association’s (IOA) offer to become goodwill ambassador of the Indian contingent for the 2016 Olympics at Rio de Janeiro.

Tendulkar now joins Bollywood superstar Salman Khan and 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medallist Abhinav Bindra as the goodwill ambassadors for the Rio-bound contingent.

“I have had the privilege and honour of representing our nation for 24 years and I continue to bat for India off the field. The welfare of sportspersons and encouraging them to give their best is very dear to me,” Tendulkar wrote in a letter to IOA after accepting the offer.

“I strongly believe that the sportspersons from different parts of the country, pursuing their unique skills are the true ambassadors of the growing sporting culture in this country,” added the 43-year-old whose international career spanned from 1989 to 2013.

Awareness about their struggles, discipline and single minded focus will help develop many more world beating champions and encourage passionate following of the Olympics in our country,” the little master further wrote.

“It will be my pleasure to meet these world-class athletes before they leave for Rio to learn about their experiences and preparations.

“My best wishes to the entire contingent as we look forward to them proudly expressing themselves in Rio.”

Tendulkar is the third ambassador for the games and these iconic sportspersons and celebrities will be expected to spread the idea of Olympic movement in every nook and corner of India.

The IOA’s move to make Salman the goodwill ambassador drew flak from wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt and former athlete Milkha Singh, who said the honour should be given to top sportspersons.

feature image: Sachin Tendulkar with wife Anjali during a charity reception at Mumbai hotel in April 2016

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