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An Olympic marathon runner who was accused of attempting to sabotage his competitors has spoken out about the incident for the first time.
Many pointed the finger at French runner Morhad Amdouni after his clumsy attempts to pick up some water from a station 28km into the marathon at the Tokyo Olympics resulted in him sweeping an entire row of them onto the ground.
As a result, many trailing competitors were unable to get a supply of water, important in any marathon but especially so in the sweltering 30 degree conditions.
Amdouni eventually finished in 17th place, but the Frenchman's ordeal was really only just getting started.
Eagle-eyed viewers spotted his ham-fisted effort, which was soon picked up on social media.
After sending bottles flying everywhere, several of the competitors behind him weren't able to pick up any water, which many were using to cool themselves in the searing heat.
There was intense debate, even within the Channel 7 commentary box, as to whether it had been a deliberate move.
“I think it is pretty hard to grab those drinks. But it’s not helpful to the athletes behind him,” former Olympian Tamsyn Manou said.
“Yeah, no, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt."
🏃 - French marathon runner Morhad Amdouni, who was slammed for knocking over a row of water bottles at the 28km mark of the race has defended his actions by claiming the bottles were 'slippery'. pic.twitter.com/tq46WXyqT2
— LADbible (@ladbible) August 9, 2021
Co-commentators Bruce McAvaney and former Olympic long jumper Dave Culbert weren't as convinced.
It seems Manou was on the money however, with Amdouni coming forward after returning home from Tokyo to explain himself.
Speaking on Instagram, Amdouni said the bottles were quite slippery, and that his fatigue from the race had made it difficult for him to grab onto anything at speed.
“With the fatigue, I started bit by bit to lose lucidity and energy in hanging on," he said.
“So I really want to apologise to the athletes. But at one moment I tried to get hold of a water bottle, I made them fall.”
French marathon runner gives explanation for Olympics gaffe
Amdouni almost certainly had to produce an explanation after footage of the moment was circulated on social media during the race.
Former Olympic runner Ben St Lawrence later shared the clip of the incident on Twitter with the caption: “Thoughts on Amdouni knocking over an entire row of water before taking the last one?”
The post quickly went viral with many users blasting the athlete for bad sportsmanship while others came to his defence, claiming it was an accident.
Piers Morgan was among the high profile critics who called Amdouni the "biggest d*** of the Olympics".
Meanwhile, Dutch politician Peter Valstar tweeted: “Morhad Amdouni (France) deliberately knocks over all the water for his fellow contesters in the marathon. Abdi Nageeye (Holland) was directly behind him and didn’t get a bottle. Nageeye won silver. Amdouni finished 17th. Karma is a b****.”
Amdouni crossed the line in 17th place with a time of two hours, 14 minutes and 33 seconds.
Temperatures were hovering around 30C and humidity levels hit more than 80%, meaning conditions were tough for the runners.
Amdoui went on to talk about how hard the race and how he wanted to give up at points but he held on.
He said: “It was infernal. it was not easy.”
“I also want to thank everyone in France who supported me and put their faith in me,” he added.
With Yahoo Sport UK
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