The Athletics Federation of India apologised on Twitter today after being pummelled by critics on social for a tweet about the country’s newest champion Hima Das that rubbed her fans the wrong way.
Posting a video of journalists interviewing Hima Das, who won India’s first gold medal at an international track event on Thursday, the AFI tweeted: “Not so fluent in English but she gave her best there too.” The tweet triggered an angry stream of messages from users who expressed their resentment at the organisation for highlighting that particular point.
Bombarded by furious messages, the AFI eventually posted two tweets to apologise.
“We apologise to all Indians if they were hurt by one of our tweets. The real intention was to show that our runner is undaunted in any situation – on the field or off it! Despite coming from a small town, she spoke without hesitation to foreign reporters in English! Once again we apologise to those offended, Jai Hindi!” it wrote in Hindi.
The tweet was welcomed by many.
Hima Das created history by winning the gold medal in the women’s 400 metre event at the IAAF World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland on Thursday. Hailed as one India’s biggest sporting achievements, the medal was India’s first gold at a global track event.