Today's Paper | September 17, 2021

Updated 29 Jul, 2021 10:08pm

Olympian Mahoor Shahzad apologises for her comments on ‘Pathans’

Pakistani badminton player Mahoor Shahzad has apologised for her comments accusing her rival players of being "jealous" of her and calling them out as “Pathans”, while clarifying that her remarks were never meant to hurt the “Pathan community”.

Shahzad’s video had gone viral on social media on July 27, in which she lashed out at rival players and called them “Pathans”, which many people found distasteful and inappropriate.

She had said: “…people have appreciated me, but there are some badminton players who are totally Pathans. I am number one in Pakistan, but our remaining Pakistani badminton players are very much jealous with my progress. This is like you neither achieve anything yourself, nor do you want anyone else to do that…”

The 24-year-old star's remarks drew condemnation from some social media users for being insensitive towards the feelings of a particular community in her denigration to a few individuals.

Clarifying her comments in a video yesterday, the badminton player explained: “… I apologise to all my Pashtun brothers and sisters as you’re hurt by my words. All Pakistanis are respectable to me as the position I have reached is because of my fans. But I want you to understand me as well. Some of our top badminton players started feeding negative information to newspapers about me after they realised on June 2 that I will be representing Pakistan at the Olympics.”

She continued that her father was also accused of bribing the Pakistan Badminton Federation. “I was dubbed the blue-eyed person of the PBF and having no skills to compete in the Olympics despite the fact that I am the national badminton champion for the last five years and have beaten girls with big margins …”

“Was my plan to represent Pakistan at the Olympics a mistake?” she questioned.

Without taking names, she said another fellow badminton player had spoken to journalists, claiming it was her right to compete in the Olympics. “Those having cognisance of the Olympics' rules understand that two people representing the same country should rank among top 16”.

The player explained that what she said in her last interview was specifically regarding the individuals who tried to tarnish her reputation and put her under stress before and after the Olympics. “My remarks were not directed at the entire Pathan community. I earnestly apologise to all those who are hurt and I hope you will forgive me from the core of your heart.”

Mahoor, a graduate of the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), shot to the limelight with her performances at the national level first before making her way to international games. The Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) on June 1 had confirmed Mahoor’s place in the Tokyo Olympics and the POA chief Lt Gen (R) Syed Arif Hasan congratulated her on the achievement.

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