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 images of the moment sparked huge reactions on social media, with many accusing Mr Amdouni of deliberately tipping the bottles to sabotage his competition. The 33-year-old is now candid about his side of the story, saying he ended up knocking over the bottles because they were too slippery to pick up.
Images of the water bottles knocked over by Mr Amdouni during the men’s marathon event went viral on social media. Australian former Olympic distance runner Ben St Lawrence shared the video on Twitter, asking, “Thoughts about Amdouni knocking over a whole row of water before taking the last one?”
Thoughts about Amdouni knocking over a whole row of water before taking the last one? pic.twitter.com/qrPaSzxLBW
— Ben St. Lawrence (@bennysaint) August 8, 2021
The video has been viewed more than 5 million times on the microblogging platform, with many accusing the French marathoner of wiping the bottles off the table to make it harder for his competitors to grab one. A number of people criticized his behavior as unsportsmanlike.
“It is clear from the video that you were trying to prevent the man in front of you from getting water,” wrote one Twitter user.
@MorhadAmdouni it’s clear from the video that you’re trying to stop the guy in front of you getting water. I hope you get kicked out of the sport.
— Jerilyn A. Schultz (@jerilyn_schultz) August 9, 2021
Another said people defending his actions were also mistaken. “He looks exactly down on what he’s doing and had no trouble grabbing the last one,” the Twitter user said.
Some people have tried to defend him by saying it’s hard to grab those drinks while running. But he looks exactly down on what he’s doing, and had no trouble grabbing the last one.
— Chester Payne (@saldiven) August 9, 2021
“That’s definitely not intentional. Poor sportsmanship,” commented one user.
BS. This is not his first marathon. He knows how to grab a water bottle or a cup. Can you imagine knocking over a pair (max. 5) but a whole row? At least that’s not intentional. Bad 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 over the video, I’m showing this video to really understand what happened,” he said, according to CBS News. “To ensure the freshness of the bottles, they are soaked in water, which makes them slippery. However, obviously I’m trying to get one from the beginning of the row, but they slip as soon as we touch them.”
The French runner finished in 17th place in the men’s marathon event at the Olympics. Eliud Kipchoge from Kenya won the gold medal in the marathon.
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