Author Shobhaa De has mocked at the performance of Indian athletes, saying that they had gone to Rio Olympics to take selfies and not to win medals, inviting angry response from top sportspersons, including star shooter Abhinav Bindra.
After three days of action at the Rio Olympics, Indian athletes have still not won a medal with Bindra missing out on a podium finish by a whisker in men's 10m air rifle event last night.
Shobhaa made fun at the performance of the Indian athletes by tweeting 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.”
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.
Abhinav Bindra missed winning his second Olympic medal by a whisker. He lost the bronze by 0.1 point. And in the end, he bowed out of the competition at fourth place in the final of the men's 10m air rifle, with a cumulative score of 163.8 at the Olympic Shooting Centre late on Monday.
He was quick to hit back at Shobhaa.
"Shobhaa De, that's a tad unfair. You should be proud of your athlete’s persuaing 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."
Star women's doubles shuttler Jwala Gutta also hit back angrily.
"maybe things will change when the attitude of people like urself change!!!!???? #Proudindian #proudsportsperson," wrote Jwala on her twitter handle.
Tennis player Somdev Devvarman added: "a little harsh to belittle the hard work put in by our athletes ...don't you think ?."
Former hockey captain Viren Rasquinha asked Shobhaa De to slog it out herself before commenting on the sportspersons.
"Ms. De, kindly run on the hockey pitch for 60 mins & hold a rifle like Abhinav and Gagan. Bit tougher than u think," wrote Rasquinha.
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."
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.”