Pakistani badminton player Mahoor Shahzad has apologized. Why? For her comments accusing her rival players of being “jealous” of her and calling them out as “Pathans”. The 24-year-old clarified her comments were never meant to hurt the “Pathan community”.
The video Shahzad posted on July 27 went viral on social media, as she slammed rival players and referred to them as “Pathans”. It was viewed as distasteful and inappropriate by many.
“People have appreciated me, but there are some badminton players who are totally Pathans,” she had said. “I am number one in Pakistan, but our remaining Pakistani badminton players are very much jealous of my progress. This is like you neither achieves anything yourself nor do you want anyone else to do that.”
Here is the viral video
Several social media users condemned Shahzad for being insensitive to the feelings of a particular community in her denigration of a few individuals.
The badminton player issues an apology
She also clarified her comments in a video on Wednesday. “I apologize 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 realized on June 2 that I will be representing Pakistan at the Olympics.”
She continued to claim 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. According to her, another badminton player had spoken to journalists and claimed she had the right to compete in the Olympics.
“Those having cognizance of the Olympics’ rules understand that two people representing the same country should rank among top 16.”
In her last interview, the athlete said she was specifically talking about individuals who stressed her before and after the Olympics in an attempt to tarnish her reputation. “My remarks were not directed at the entire Pathan community.”
‘I earnestly apologize’
Shahzad is the first-ever Pakistani female badminton champion. In March, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) selected her for their fully funded scholarship for the University of London’s PG Certificate in Sports Management.
She also qualified for the Tokyo Olympics last month, becoming the first Pakistani badminton player to qualify.
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