Gros Islet: 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 country's 237-run win over West Indies in the third Test on Saturday, Kohli lauded the contingent and said the athletes should not be judged harshly. "In an event like Olympics, we firstly 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.
"These guys go and give their 100 percent effort in what they do. Some people don't even have 10 percent of the facilities that sportsmen from other countries have. And then they sit and compare in our country," he added.
Kohli said Indian athletes work as hard as anyone in the world and they should be supported in their quest to be at the top. "They're giving their 120 per cent effort, and at the end of the day, that is what matters. 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. But still they go out there and give their heart and soul for the country and we should appreciate that," he added.
Writer Shobhaa 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.