Allegations made by Indian athlete OP Jaisha on the apathy of the Indian officials at the Rio Olympics, that Indian officials were not present at the designated stations to provide them with water and drinks, has been refuted by the Atheletics Federation of India. As controversies refuse to ellude Indian athletes at the Rio Olympics, Jaisha had told reporters on Monday that the apathy shown during the games led to her collapsing at the finish line of the marathon.
The AFI denied the allegations and said that the athletes Jaisha and Raut had declined the offers made, and they had told the team manager that there was no requirement of personalised drinks, and if required, the drinks present at the water and refreshment booths madew available by the organisers will be enough. Jaisha had claimed that he organizers provided water after every 8 kilometres.
“Each team is allowed to keep its own personalised drinks on the booths, marked in a colour as per the choice of the team and athlete. Accordingly, as per the rule, on the night ahead of women’s marathon race, Indian team manager carried 16 empty bottles, eight each for Jaisha and Kavita Raut and visited the duo and their coach Nikolai Snesarev in their room,” the AFI said.
The AFI claimed that the Indian team manager had asked the athletes to give their choice of drink so that those could be sealed in presence of them and then given over to the organisers so that they could install them on the booth. According to the AFI it is a rule that if athletes accept drinks from other officials then she could be disqualified.
“Therefore, it is an incorrect statement made by Ms O.P. Jaisha that the Indian officials accompanying the team did not provide her water or any other form of tonic drinks,” AFI said. The AFI claimed that Jaisha was never in the habit of taking personalised drinks, as she had refused to use them in the World Championships in Beijing in 2015.
In case of the Indian men runners, they made a request through coach Surender Singh asking for personal drinks and they were provided with the same, the AFI claimed. The AFI applauded the Rio organisers saying that they did a wonderful job when it came to provisions. “As per the prevailing rules and regulations, the organisers installed one water point per every 2.5km and one refreshment booth every 2.5km,” AFI said.
AFI also said that there were medical booths after every 5 kilometres and two ambulances constantly followed the marathon runners.
“We fail to comprehend why Ms Jaisha, who has been nurtured and trained with relentless dedication by the foreign expert and the AFI for years, chose to state incorrect information in her interview to a section of the media,” the AFI said.
Jaisha, in Beijing Championship had clocked a great 2:34:43 and finished 18th, but at Rio she managed to clock only 2:47:19 after which she collapsed at the finish line.
(with Agency inputs)