Olympic marathon runner at centre of ‘water bottle outrage’ breaks silence

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JUNE 05: Morhad Amdouni of France wins the Mens International Race A during the Muller British Athletics 10,000m Championships & European Athletics 10,000m Cup 2021 at University of Birmingham Athletics Track on June 05, 2021 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Morhad Amdouni of France at the Muller British Athletics 10,000m Championships & European Athletics 10,000m Cup 2021 in June. (Getty)

French runner Morhad Amdouni has broken his silence after footage of him knocking over a line of bottled water during the Tokyo 2021 Olympics men’s marathon sparked a fierce sportsmanship debate.

In footage of the incident, Amdouni can be seen approaching a table of small water bottles on the side of the track and knocking a row of them over with his hand before taking the last one for himself.

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.

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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****.”

Watch: Morhad Amdouni sparks Olympic water bottle controversy during men’s marathon

But the French runner has now apologised and insisted it was an accident as he addressed the criticism in a video shared to social media.

In the clip, he explained that the bottles were “slippery” and that the footage of the incident clearly showed that he tried to take a bottle from the beginning of the row but they slipped.

He added: “With the fatigue, I started bit by bit to lose lucidity and energy in hanging on.

Kenya's Rhonex Kipruto (L), Uganda's Joshua Cheptegei (C) and France's Morhad Amdouni (R) compete in the men's 10000m final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on July 30, 2021. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)Kenya's Rhonex Kipruto (L), Uganda's Joshua Cheptegei (C) and France's Morhad Amdouni (R) compete in the men's 10000m final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on July 30, 2021. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

France’s Morhad Amdouni (third from the left) compete in the men’s 10000m final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. (Getty)

“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.”

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.

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