French long-distance runner Morhad Ambouni was captured on television clattering the row of bottles at a water station during the men’s marathon in Sapporo
The Olympic marathon runner who knocked over a row of water bottles on offer for his rivals to stay hydrated has denied he did so deliberately.
French long-distance runner Morhad Ambouni was captured on television clattering the row of bottles at a water station during the men’s marathon in Sapporo.
Amdouni could be seen running his hand through at least 20 of the bottles which were lined up on a table for athletes to cool down in the blistering heat of summer in Japan, before eventually grabbing the last bottle in the row.
Many comments on social media accused Amdouni of deliberately trying to sabotage his opponents, particularly given how simply the rivals in front of him had appeared to grab a bottle on the run.
But the 33-year-old insisted it was an accident, saying the bottles were “slippery”.
In a video posted on Facebook, Amdouni said: “To put an end to all the sterile polemics in the video, I put this video to actually understand what happened. To guarantee freshness to the bottles, they are soaked in water. Which makes them slippery. It is clear that I am trying to get one from the beginning of the row but these slide when we barely touch them.”
The marathon races were specifically moved to the north of the country with early starts so that athletes might cope better in the heat, which reached nearly 30 degrees despite the measures.
Amdouni finished six minutes behind the winner Eliud Kipchoge, who clocked 2 hr 8 min 38 sec.