Several sportspersons have unitedly condemned author Shobhaa De for critising Indian athletes for their medal no-show at the Rio Olympics so far.

Shobhaa tweeted on Monday night: “Goal of Team India at the Olympics: Rio jao (Go to Rio). Selfies lo (Take selfies). Khaali haat wapas aao (Return empty-handed). What a waste of money and opportunity. Only hope? Dependable Abhinav Bindra. Aim for gold, champion!”

The comment was made after the men’s hockey team suffered a late 1-2 defeat to Germany, while the women’s hockey side was thrashed 0-3 by Britain in group stages on Monday. Archer Laxmirani Majhi also added to the disappointment, crashing out in the Round of 32 eliminators.

The comment was considered offensive and unfair by many well known Indian sportspersons, many of them have voiced their disapproval on social media platforms and television.

India’s sole individual Olympic gold medallist, shooter Abhinav Bindra, also missed the opportunity of winning another Olympic medal by a miniscule margin, finishing fourth in the final of the men’s 10-metre Air Rifle final on Monday.

He was quick to hit back at Shobhaa.

“Shobhaa De, that’s a tad unfair. You should be proud of your athletes persueing human excellence against the whole world,” he said.

Two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar also took a similar stance saying on television: “DeShobhaa should spend a day with the athletes, then she will get to know their hardwork.”

India’s badminton doubles specialist Jwala Gutta blasted the Mumbai-based author for poor attitude on Twitter :

Tennis player Somdev Devvarman also wrote on Twitter :”DeShobhaa a little harsh to belittle the hard work put in by our athletes …don’t you think?”

Two-time Asian Games gold medallist long jumper Anju Bobby said: “Now is the time to support out India team not criticise them. I am hopeful that the Indian team will return in winning ways at Rio.”

Former men’s hockey team’s captain Viren Rasquinha urged Shobhaa on Twitter to emulate what sportspersons do on their respective fields:

In an interview to a news channel, the author said: “Yes, of course I stand by it. Players are entitled to an opinion. In fact, I did comment about Abhinav (Bindra) being our sole hope.”

Shobhaa was also criticised by many from the Bollywood film fraternity and other Twitter users.

Actress Gul Panag wrote: “Lots of lament about medal tally, but no lament about lack of fitness culture (which builds a sporting nation) Abhinav Bindra, Shobhaa De.”

“Abhinav Bindra, And do so despite of and in spite of there being no infra and institutional support, and no sporting culture.”

Actor Nikhil Dwivedi also didn’t appreciate Shobhaa’s comments.

“Another gem from Shobhaa De. The state has failed our sportsmen. They strive very hard. Don’t mock them,” he tweeted.

But despite the backlash, Shobhaa has refused to apologise for her statement.

In an interview to a news channel, the author said: “Yes, of course I stand by it. Players are entitled to an opinion. In fact, I did comment about Abhinav (Bindra) being our sole hope.”

    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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