Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli has thrown his weight behind India's Olympic contingent, which is yet to win a medal at the Rio Games, saying that the athletes have given their heart and soul to be there despite not getting top-class facilities that other nations provide.
Speaking to the media after the 237-run win over West Indies in the third Test here, Kohli lauded the contingent and said the athletes should not be judged harshly.
"In an event like Olympics, firstly we need to look at how these athletes prepare. They give their heart and soul. And for some people to just ignore what they do, I think it is very hurtful. Even in cricket, you can't perform every game and you don't win every series," Kohli said.
For some people to just ignore what they (athletes) do very simply, I think is hurtful, we need to give credit: Virat Kohli #Rio2016— ANI (@ANI_news) August 14, 2016
"These guys go and give 100 per cent effort in what they do. Some people don't even have 10 per cent of the facilities that sportsmen from other countries have. And then they sit and compare in our country," he added.
But still these athletes work as hard as anyone else in the world and they try and win a medal for us: Virat Kohli #Rio2016— ANI (@ANI_news) August 14, 2016
"Once someone wins a medal, that's a big deal because we understand that we don't have those kinds of facilities, but still these guys work as hard as anyone else in the world. They try and go and win a medal for us," he said.
"I think we just need to stay positive with all the events that are left. We must give credit to the guys who have gone on and competed. Hats off to the guys who go there and compete and are there in the mix because it's so hard with no preparation and facility, it's so hard to be at that level.
We need to stay positive with all events that are left, we must give credit to athletes who've gone and competed: Virat Kohli #Rio2016— ANI (@ANI_news) August 14, 2016
Writer Shobha De had triggered a social media storm by ridiculing the contingent, drawing angry reactions from sportspersons across the board including India's only individual Olympic gold-medallist, ace rifle shooter Abhinav Bindra.