When India is celebrating with its two Olympic medal winners Sakshi Malik, PV Sindhu along with Dipa Karmakar at that time another Olympic athlete OP Jaisha revealed a nasty story about Athletics Federation of India (AFI). She claimed she didn’t get water to drink during the marathon event in Rio.
The two time bronze medal winner at Asian Games, Jaisha said that she fainted at the finishing point because she was not provided water by the Indian officials. The officials were supposed to be at the desk with refreshments during the event and the Indian desk was empty.
Jaisha finished 89th with a timing of 2:47:19. She alleged, “I could have died there”. The marathon runner was lying helpless at the finishing point until fellow runner in the Men’s event Gopi T and his coach came to help her.
She alleged that she ran in the scorching heat and there was neither water, recovery drinks nor food. Only in 8 kms there was a stall from Rio organizers where she got water but that was not enough. All the country’s stall was every 2 kms but India’s stall was unmanned.
As per IAAF regulation the duty of the federation and the coach is to deploy officials with necessary arrangements. As athletes can’t consume drinks from other country’s desk, it might lead to disqualification.
But the Indian stalls were empty so the Indian runners had to depend on the refreshments by the Rio organizers which, according to athletes lasted only for 550 m.
A top AFI official, CK Valson denied the allegation, said this was not true that there was no officials at the stalls. Rather, he slammed Jaisha. He claimed that Indian officials offered refreshments at the counters, but Jaisha and her coach refused to have it.
They presented a statement which they showed they had no fault.
Highlights of AFI’s statement
As per the rule, the Indian team manager carried 16 empty bottles, eight each for Jaisha and the other woman runner Kavita Raut on the night before the women’s marathon race. The manager visited the two runners and coach, foreign expert Dr Nikolai Snesarev, he asked them to choice their personalized drink which would then be sealed in their presence and handed over to the organizers for installing them on the booth with a placard as per the requirement of the athlete.
But in this case the two athletes refused to take their personalized drink and informed the Indian Team Manager that they didn’t need it. They said during the race if they required it, they would use the drinks available at the water booth and refreshment booth by the organizers.
So, Jaisha’s allegation that the Indian officials did not provide her water or any refreshment drinks was false.
The statement added that Ms Jaisha had also declined to use personalized drink in the 2015 World Championships in Brazil and her coach informed the Indian team management that she wasn’t in the habit of using personalized drinks.
Further, it was said that the three Indian male marathon runners and their coach Surender Singh had requested for personalized drinks and as per their requirements it was provided to them.
In their statement, they also informed that the temperature was 18 degree Celsius when the women’s marathon had started and when the race finished it was reached to 26 degree Celsius.
Jaisha refused the allegations of AFI
Jaisha declined the charges of AFI that she refused the energy drinks. The athlete told NDTV, “Why would I lie? There was no water in Rio…I am not blaming the Sports Authority of India or the administration…After 21 km, I was really exhausted, I couldn’t even walk for a metre.”
The ANI reported that she said cameras can prove that she wasn’t telling a lie. She insisted, “There needs to be an inquiry.”
She further stated that the officials should check the cameras and they will get their answers. “Why would I say such a huge lie, when I have never complained even once in my entire sports career?”
She blamed the system for her poor performance. Jaisha was hospitalized and regained her consciousness after a couple of hours.