• Ravi Shastri said Simone Biles need not have to explain her decision to anyone
  • Biles withdrew from major Olympic finals, citing mental health concenrs
  • Messages of support have been pouring in for Biles at Tokyo 2020

Messages of support have been pouring in for star American gymnast Simone Biles who withdrew from Artistic Gymnastics team event and individual all-round final, citing mental health concerns. India cricket team head coach extended his support to Biles in a powerful note on social media on Thursday.

Ravi Shastri said Simone Biles need not have to explain her stance to anyone after withdrawing from the marquee events at the Tokyo Games. Biles’s decision shocked the entire sporting fraternity as the legendary gymnast, who won 4 gold medals at the Rio Games when she was 19, walked off after her vault during the team event final earlier this week.

It is not sure whether Biles will turn up for the apparatus finals. She has qualified for the medal rounds of all 4 apparatus events, something that she did not even achieve at the Rio Games.

“Take your time @Simone_Biles. You have earned the right to owe it to yourself at this tender age. 48 hours or 48 days it might take. Just do it Champion. You owe no explanation to no one,” Ravi Shastri said in his tweet.

Ravi Shastri also addressed Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka in his message. Osaka crashed out early from the women’s singles competition at the Games, which was her first appearance in competitive action since pulling out of French Open earlier this year due to mental health concerns.

When Biles spoke of feeling ‘lost’

While it was initially received to be an injury, Biles reappeared in her warm-up suit, watched her teammates snag silver, and even clowned around dancing with fellow teammate Jordan Chiles. The 24-year-old later spoke of feeling “lost” after the vault and deciding that she needed to “call it”.

Prior to the Olympics, Biles said, she had been going through some things and using therapy and medicines to cope. But after coming into the Games, stresses began to build up.

While there have been a few uncalled-for, negative reactions, a top psychologist said Simone Biles’ decision was ‘very powerful” and can help more athletes talk about the importance of mental health

Ben Miller, a psychologist and president of California-based Well Being Trust, mental health has been marginalised in society for far too long and athletes speaking up on the topic should all be applauded.

“Other athletes that might have struggled with similar issues now feel like it’s OK for them to talk about it. There’s something very powerful in that moment,” Miller told Reuters.

“You’re always going to have your detractors and people that say, ‘Oh well, they’re just making excuses because they didn’t perform well.’ Which I say that’s a shame. That is an example of stigma.

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