During the men’s marathon event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, French runner Morhad Amdouni was filmed knocking over a row of bottles at a rehydration station before grabbing the last one. Viral footage of the moment sparked huge backlash on social media, where many accused Mr Amdouni of knocking the bottles over deliberately in order to sabotage his competition. The 33-year-old has now opened up about his side of the story, saying that he ended up knocking the bottles down because they were too slippery to pick up.
Footage of the water bottles being knocked over by Mr Amdouni during the men’s marathon event went massively viral on social media. Sharing the video on Twitter, Australian former Olympic distance runner Ben St Lawrence asked: “Thoughts on Amdouni knocking over an entire row of water before taking the last one?”
Thoughts on Amdouni knocking over an entire row of water before taking the last one? pic.twitter.com/qrPaSzxLBW
— Ben St Lawrence (@bennysaint) August 8, 2021
The video racked up over 5 million views on the microblogging platform, where many accused the French marathon runner of sweeping the bottles off the table in order to make it more difficult for his competitors to grab one. A number of people criticised his behaviour as unsportsmanlike.
“It is clear from video you were trying to stop the man in front of you from getting water,” wrote one Twitter user.
@MorhadAmdouni it is clear from video you where trying to stop the man in front of you from getting water. I hope you are thrown out of sports.
— Jerilyn A. Schultz (@jerilyn_schultz) August 9, 2021
Another said that people defending his actions were mistaken too. “He’s looking down exactly at what he’s doing, and didn’t have any trouble in grabbing the last one,” the Twitter user said.
Some people have tried to defend him saying it’s hard to grab those drinks while running. But, he’s looking down exactly at what he’s doing, and didn’t have any trouble in grabbing the last one.
— Chester Payne (@saldiven) August 9, 2021
“No way that’s not deliberate. Poor sportsmanship,” a user remarked.
BS. This isn’t his first marathon. He knows how to pick up a water bottle or a cup. Can imagine knocking over a couple (5 max) but an entire row? No way that’s no deliberate. Poor sportsmanship.
— Nona Rose (@nona80_swanette) August 8, 2021
On Monday, Mr Amdouni released a video defending his actions.
“To put an end to all the controversy from the video, I show this video to actually understand what happened,” he said, according to CBS News. “To guarantee freshness to the bottles, they are soaked in water, which makes them slippery. However, it is clear that I am trying to get one from the beginning of the row but they slip as soon as we touch them.”
The French runner finished at the 17th place in the men’s marathon event at Olympics. Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya won the gold medal in the marathon event.
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