Sports | August 9, 2021 1:55 pm

French Runner Defends Himself for Knocking Over Water Bottles During Men’s Olympic Marathon

Morhad Amdouni knocked over waters at a hydration station before taking the last one for himself

Morhad Amdouni of France at the Müller British Athletics 10,000m Championships. The runner courted controversy at the Tokyo Olympics after knocking over water bottles during the men's marathon race.
Morhad Amdouni of France at the Müller British Athletics 10,000m Championships.
Jan Kruger/Getty

The French runner who found himself in hot water after knocking over bottles meant for his competitors before taking the last for himself at a hydration station during the men’s Olympic marathon has issued his defense.

One of 105 runners in the marathon, which took place when temperature were as high as 95 degrees Fahrenheit amid high humidity, Morhad Amdouni appeared to knock over dozens of water bottles meant for other runners about two-thirds of the way through the race.

After facing criticism on social media and from media talking heads, Amdouni released a statement and a video defending himself and blaming what happened on the water bottles being too slippery.

“To put an end to all the controversy from the video, I show this video to actually understand what happened,” the 33-year-old Frenchman says in the clip, according to Eurosport. “To guarantee freshness to the bottles, they are soaked in water, which makes them slippery. However, it is clear that I am trying to get one from the beginning of the row but they slip as soon as we touch them.”

The apparent sabotage attempt didn’t pay off for Amdouni as he finished 17th in the race, six minutes behind Kenyan winner Eliud Kipchoge. The defending champion, Kipchoge finished the race in 2 hours, 8 minutes, 38 seconds — 80 seconds ahead of runner-up Abdi Nageeye of the Netherlands. Kipchoge, 36, is just the third man in history to win consecutive Olympic marathon titles.