HYDERABAD: Former world no. 1 badminton player Saina Nehwal faced a lot of flak from netizens on Thursday after she uploaded a post on her Instagram and Twitter holding up a soft drink bottle for the company’s campaign to celebrate Indian athletes competing at the Tokyo Olympics.
Many chided Saina for purportedly encouraging an unhealthy lifestyle by promoting the fizzy drink and even compared her to footballer Cristiano Ronaldo. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner arrived at a presser ahead of his country’s first Euro 2020 match and found two bottles of a fizzy drink placed on the table in front of him along with a water bottle. Picking them up and moving them aside, Ronaldo raised the water bottle saying ‘drink water’. Saina’s post read, “Our true heroes, our pride, our Olympians, are ready to strike at #Tokyo2020 and I’m cheering for them.
Come on guys, I know you’ll turn around every challenge and you’ll make us proud...” Fans were furious and flooded the comments section with disapproval. “Do u really drink these...It was definetly not expected from you (sic),” wrote one user. “Learn something from Ronaldo ! Seriously,” wrote another. Excess consumption of aerated drinks means excess sugar and calories, which is harmful in the long run. Express tried contacting Saina, but could not reach her.
However, her husband and badminton player Parupalli Kashyap called the backlash ‘silly’. “People think that if you drink these drinks, you suddenly go crazy. Everyone eats dessert, everyone has a cheat day. Even I have a cheat day on weekends. Anything in excess is bad,” he said in a telephonic conversation with Express. Calling the uproar, a probable reaction to the Ronaldo incident, Kashyap said, “Maybe he (Ronaldo) realised after gaining popularity in so many years that it is bad.
Even he promoted a brand once upon a time. I think Lionel Messi still promotes one. I admire them as a sportsperson, but I don’t think that is the reason (not drinking soft drinks) that they reached on the top.” Kashyap lauded the said soft drink brand’s campaign to promote Indian athletes, who otherwise don’t get as much popularity as their counterparts in other sports. “Indian athletes don’t make good money. The campaign fetches them popularity and money and they deserve it, they work really hard.
The hardships that athletes face, they are superheroes. If the brand is encouraging them by putting them on TV and promoting them as stars, it is very good for these athletes. If people who are commenting were offered cash to do the campaign, they would also do it.” He went on to say that people make up this image of top athletes — that they should live like this, not do this, and so on. “Drinking a soft drink is not going to decide the fate of the match,” he says.
THE SHUTTLER ON INSTA & TWITTER
“Our true heroes, our pride, our Olympians, are ready to strike at #Tokyo2020 and I’m cheering for them. Come on guys, I know you’ll turn around every challenge and you’ll make us proud...”