French runner Morhad Amdouni has denied claims that he deliberately knocked water bottles from a hydration station during the men’s marathon at the Tokyo Olympic Games this past weekend.
A video showing Amdouni clearing an entire row of water bottles at the hydration table on Sunday went viral and sparked controversy, but the Frenchman who was running with the lead pack at the time, said the bottles were unintentionally knocked over because they were slippery.
“To guarantee freshness to the bottles, these are soaked in water, Which makes them slippery,” the 2018 European Championships 10,000m champion said in a Facebook post.
“However, it is clear that I am trying to get one from the beginning of the row but these slide when we touch them.”
The incident in question occurred at a time when the runners were hoping to refuel and attack the second half of the race, but several athletes behind him had to continue running without water.
After being greeted by numerous backlashes from social media and television personnel, Amdouni created a video on Instagram where he apologised to the rest of the competitors.
“With fatigue and all that, I was gradually starting to lose lucidity and energy, while hanging on,” said the 33-year-old who finished 17th in the marathon.
“I would like to apologise to the athletes. At one point, I was trying to be able to hold a bottle of water but I dropped some. It was not easy, trying to be able to hang on …
“In principle, I try to be able to share also during the race, the bottles of water, while respecting everyone and going high and proud, to be able to fight for our colours of the jersey.”
Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge, the red-hot favorite entering the Tokyo Games, successfully defended his title with a brilliant win to confirm his status as a marathon great.