India’s athletes have turned the clocks back by a decade or so at this Rio Olympics. It’s been three days since Rio 2016 started and the search for the first medal is still on. Big expectations were placed on the likes of Jitu Rai, Abhinav Bindra, and the women’s archery team — all of them have failed so far.
It’s been rather painful to watch — agonising, heart-breaking, especially given that the largest contingent in our Olympic history is at the Rio Games.
Yes, we get all that.
But popular author and columnist, Shobhaa De, took the criticism to a whole new level on Monday as she accused — and we don’t use that word lightly — the Indian athletes of going to Rio for just taking selfies and wasting money.
Goal of Team India at the Olympics: Rio jao. Selfies lo. Khaali haat wapas aao. What a waste of money and opportunity.— Shobhaa De (@DeShobhaa) August 8, 2016
And this did not go down well at all with the sports fraternity on Twitter, who — rightly so, if we could add — got outraged over the silliness of this remark:
(We are doing our best to censor out the personal attacks — and there were many of those as well — on Shobhaa De to pick the ones that rightly pointed out the flaw in her argument)
Starting with former Team India hockey captain, Viren Resquinha:
Ms. De, kindly run on the hockey pitch for 60 mins & hold a rifle like Abhinav and Gagan. Bit tougher than u think https://t.co/XwZFKqZJjn— Viren Rasquinha (@virenrasquinha) August 8, 2016
Even Olympian Abhinav Bindra responded later:
@DeShobhaa that’s a tad unfair. You should be proud of your athletes perusing human excellence against the whole world.— Abhinav Bindra (@Abhinav_Bindra) August 9, 2016
As did many Indian Twitterati:
Exhibit 1 : When you are totally clueless about Indian Sports – https://t.co/6GSpepvHSo— Vipul (@Sporty_Baba) August 8, 2016
@DeShobhaa Goal of Shobha de on twitter : Online aao. Bina matlab ki baat karo. Gaali khao. Wapas ajao.— Smoking Skills (@SmokingSkills_) August 8, 2016
. @DeShobhaa They have trained & worked hard to get there. Not everyone has the advantage of being a soft porn novelist to talk BS— The Masakadzas (@Nesenag) August 8, 2016
Every sportsperson is giving his/her best to win for our country. Their ultimate aim of life is to see OUR National Flag from the Podium.— Yashwant Deshmukh (@YRDeshmukh) August 8, 2016
And the best — and arguably the meanest of the lot:
So, while it was OK to be frustrated at India’s showing, there is no need at all mock them for being a waste of money. These athletes want the medals as much as any Indian does.
Not cool, Shobhaa De. Not cool!