Morhad Amdouni has denied deliberately knocking water bottles from a table during the men’s marathon at the Tokyo Olympic Games on Sunday.
Around the 28km mark, the Frenchman – who was running with the leading pack – knocked numerous bottles from a hydration station, meaning some athletes behind him were unable to pick one up. Temperatures during the marathon approached 30 degrees Celsius.
Video of the incident, which went viral on social media, sparked anger. Piers Morgan, for example, awarded Amdouni, “The Gold medal for biggest dickhead of the Tokyo Olympics”.
In a Facebook post, Amdouni said that he had knocked over the bottles as they were slippery.
“To guarantee freshness to the bottles, these are soaked in water,” he said.
“Which makes them slippery. However, it is clear that I am trying to get one from the beginning of the row but these barely slide we touch them.”
Earlier, he had also addressed the controversy in a video on Instagram where he apologized to his fellow runners.
“With fatigue and all that, I was gradually starting to lose lucidity and energy, while hanging on,” he said.
“I would like to apologize 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 colors of the jersey.”
The 33-year-old – who won gold in the 10,000m at the 2018 European Championships – finished 17th in the marathon, 5:55 behind gold medal winner Eliud Kipchoge.