Team GB prospect Zharnel Hughes out of the blocks before the starting pistol fired and was swiftly disqualified from the men’s 100m final at Tokyo 2020 – the biggest race of his career so far
Tokyo 2020: Italy’s Marcell Jacobs wins gold in 100m final
The BBC are facing fierce criticism over their interview of Zharnel Hughes moments after the Team GB star suffered a heartbreaking disqualification in the men’s 100m final at Tokyo 2020.
Hughes, 26, won his semi-final ahead of hot favourite Trayvon Bromell to reach the final in his first Olympic Games, having missed Rio 2016 due to injury.
But he was out of the blocks before the starting pistol fired and was swiftly disqualified from what was the biggest race of his life.
Hughes was visibly distraught as he addressed the media after the race, which was won by Italy’s Marcell Jacobs in a stunning upset.
Despite this, Hughes was repeatedly asked to justify his error, with the BBC Sport interviewer saying: “I just think you should kind of explain why or how one of the biggest moments of your life…”
In response, Hughes showed great composure and said: “It was out of my control. We went up on set, my left calf cramped up on me with the cramp I moved.”
He added: “It was all in my control, unfortunately my calf cramped, and I moved. I can’t describe it, it hurts a lot, second time again. I am just disappointed.”
After the interview, Team GB fans flocked to Twitter to voice their discontent about the interview.
One wrote: “Shocking post race interview by BBC reporter. He gave the reason and question repeated.
“Zharnel Hughes was clearly upset and she felt the need to stick the boot in and not even commiserate. So much for being kind and mental health. He handled it well.”
Another added: “BBC Sport, why are you torturing Zharnel Hughes with this interview?
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“He’s totally devastated and your approach seems to be along the lines of ‘So loser, why are you a loser?’ Leave the boy alone to learn for the future! It’s a hard enough lesson he’s learned.”
“I thought you were supporting athletes mental health,” wrote a third. “Zharnel Hughes made a mistake in his race. Don’t speak to him like he has let the country down.”
Meanwhile, former Team GB gold medallist Marlon Devonish told BBC Radio 5 Live : I’m speechless, I did not expect that.
“He ran an outstanding race, hats off to him. I’m so disappointed for Zharnel Hughes, it was an opportunity.”
Hughes himself felt he had an excellent chance of walking away from the 100m final with a medal, which only added to his anguish at being disqualified.
“I feel as if I was in that final I would have definitely walked away with a medal,” he added.