AFI sorry for mock­ing Hima’s English flu­ency

DNA (Delhi) - - FRONT PAGE - sports@dnain­

Mum­bai: On a day when In­dia cel­e­brated the his­toric achieve­ment of Assam’s Hima Das, who be­came the first In­dian track ath­lete to win any world event by clinch­ing the 400m gold at the IAAF World U-20 Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onship in Tampere, Fin­land, it was the Ath­let­ics Fed­er­a­tion of In­dia (AFI) that hogged the lime­light on so­cial me­dia.

The AFI re­ceived se­vere crit­i­cism for post­ing a tweet that high­lighted the 18-year-old’s lack of English skills in an in­ter­view she gave af­ter her 400m semi­fi­nal vic­tory on Wed­nes­day.

“#Hi­maDas speking to me­dia af­ter her SF win at #iaaf­tam­pere 2018 @ iaaforg Not so flu­ent in English but she gave her best there too. So proud of u #Hi­maDas Keep rock­ing & yeah,try ur best in fi­nal!” AFI wrote on its twit­ter han­dle (@afi­in­dia) af­ter Das’s semi­fi­nal win. The tweet did not gar­ner a lot of at­ten­tion af­ter her semis tri­umph, but once Das be­came an overnight toast of the na­tion, the AFI was not spared by Twit­ter­atis for its com­ments.

Ro­hith Ram forced the AFI to re­spond with this tweet: “She has landed in Tampere for dis­play­ing her tal­ent in track and not in English Its shame on you @afi­in­dia for what you said.”

Post this tweet, the AFI re­alised that its thought process be­hind the tweet was be­ing per­ceived neg­a­tively by the peo­ple, and posted a se­ries of tweets de­fend­ing it­self.

“Also she comes from a very hum­ble back­ground & can not even speak Hindi flu­ently, we are ap­plaud­ing her ef­fort to face jour­nal­ists & try­ing her best to speak in English. Hope now you un­der­stand that tweet,” the AFI said.

“And the point from our end is this that we made that state­ment to high­light her con­fi­dence & her pos­i­tive at­ti­tude. To tell those who do not know her well that even though she is not flu­ent, she is not shy to ex­press her, & that is the rea­son in the first place to put this video,” the AFI added.

By then, though, the dam­age was al­ready done.

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