Columnist and author Shobhaa De has been drawing a lot of flak on social media for her insulting tweet on Indian Olympians in Rio de Janeiro. According to her, all athletes are doing is clicking selfies, and wasting opportunity and money. “Goal of Team India at the Olympics: Rio jao. Selfies lo. Khaali haat wapas aao. What a waste of money and opportunity,” De tweeted on Monday.
This stinging remark attracted widespread criticism, including from 2008 gold medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra, badminton player Jwala Gutta, former India hockey player Viren Rasquinha, actor Gul Panag and many others. Former athlete Sunita Godara was also furious at what De had said.
“It is not easy to even qualify for Olympics. It takes at least six years and guts to reach that level. “What does she know about sportspersons? They don’t realise how much hard work is put in when you qualify for the Olympics. How dare she speak like that? Now she has to ‘eat crow’ because whatever she said she must be regretting. She shouldn’t have done that; she should apologise,” said Godara.
Despite hundreds of people suggesting her to apologise, De doesn’t seem to budge. Instead, she thinks, “official apathy” is the reason why athletes are unable to fare well. “Official apathy main reason why we fare so poorly during every Olympics, not just Rio. Difficult for athletes to ‘compete’ with this hurdle,” she tweeted.
It’s quite unbelievable that the author didn’t consider the effort of Dipa Karmakar, Deepika Kumari, Abhinav Bindra and many others. As Bindra called it, it was a “tadbit unfair” on her De’s part to have demeaned athletes.