New Delhi: BJP MP Udit Raj on Monday clarified that he did not advocate beef consumption when he quoted Usain Bolt’s coach as advising the Jamaican sprinter to eat beef but his comment was meant to inspire Indian athletes that they can excel even in adverse circumstances.
The MP said he was saddened to learn that his views were more misunderstood than understood.
“I did not comment on anything related to consumption of beef, but only reproduced a statement from Usain Bolt, which is now being misconstrued and misinterpreted by some media outlets to say that he advocates the consumption of beef,” Udit Raj said in a statement.
On Sunday, Raj tweeted: “Usain Bolt of Jamaica was poor and (the) trainer advised him to eat beef both the times, and he scored nine gold medals in Olympics.”
After the tweet went viral, the Lok Sabha member from Delhi clarified his stand.
“I cited (the) circumstances of Jamaica that despite poor infrastructure and poverty, Bolt won nine golds. So our players should find ways like that to win,” he posted on his Twitter handle.
Raj said he only wanted Indian players to look for the best means to post wins in games rather than blaming circumstances and the government. He also said that eating was an individual choice.
“As Usain Bolt and trainer found ways and means to win medals, similarly our players and trainers should also do as per their circumstances,” the Dalit leader said.
Later, Raj also issued an statement to elaborate his views and put an end to this “artificially created controversy”, saying it was his personal opinion.
“My tweet was meant to inspire Indian athletes that they can excel even in adverse circumstances,” Raj said, adding that he was well aware that food habits cannot be dictated to anyone, both as per our social traditions as well as per the provisions of the Constitution.
Raj said that he wanted to send a message that giving excuses will not take us far as the union government as well as the state governments and various PSUs are doing a lot to promote sports in the country.
“It is not right to just blame the government for our poor performance in the Olympics. The message that I wanted to send was that it is necessary to have a killer and winning instinct and one can excel even in adverse circumstances, and hence it is not right to just blame circumstances,” he said.
However, he added: “It is true that in some cases, the government is unable to provide all necessary facilities to budding athletes, but it also true that thousands of recruitments are made by the Government of India, state governments and PSUs to promote sports, and athletes are paid hefty salaries and given all facilities and freedoms to pursue their careers.”