MORE question marks have emerged over runner O P Jaisha’s allegations that she was not provided with water by Indian officials during the Rio Olympics marathon. After fellow runner Kavita Raut Wednesday, the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) and Jaisha’s own coach Nikolai Snesarev have dismissed the claims made by the runner.
The IAAF said the organising committee had provided 11 designated water stations along the 42-km course. In an emailed statement to The Indian Express, Chris Turner, from IAAF’s communications team, said: “The IAAF has contacted the Rio 2016 Olympic Games local organising committee (LOC) and were informed of the following: The LOC had water stations working at the following points: 2.5 km, 7.5 km, 12.5 km, 17.5 km, 22.5 km, 27.5 km, 32.5 km, 37.5 km and 40 km, plus of course at the start and finish.”
Jaisha, who holds the marathon national record, had accused Athletics Federation of India (AFI) officials of not arranging water and energy drinks for her during the marathon, adding that she “almost died” because of it. The AFI rubbished her allegations, saying providing water was the prerogative of the organisers.
Jaisha’s coach Snesarev, meanwhile, said his ward had herself refused personalised refreshment during her race at the Games last week. Snesarev said Jaisha never uses personalised drinks during marathons — this time, he added, when he asked her if she needed them during the event, she declined. The Belarusian said he conveyed Jaisha’s decision to AFI officials.
WATCH VIDEO: Coach, IAAF Dismiss OP Jaisha Claims
“A day before the race, Radhakrishnan Nair (deputy chief coach) asked me whether she (Jaisha) would need individual refreshment or drinks for the race. I asked Jaisha whether she will use personalised drinks or normal water provided by organisers. She said she will use normal water only. Then I told Nair that she will not need personalised refreshment and she would prefer pure water. That is it,” Snesarev was quoted as saying by PTI.
Even at the World Championships in Beijing last August, where she finished 18th, Jaisha had only regular water — she has done the same so far this year, said Snesarev.
In Rio, Jaisha fainted at the finish line after completing the race in 89th position. Later, she alleged there was no water, recovery drinks and refreshment available for her and that she got water only once, at the 8-km mark.
After initially pointing fingers at the AFI, the 33-year-old blamed Snesarev on Wednesday, saying that he must have told the AFI officials that she would prefer personalised refreshment.
Kavita Raut, who also participated in the marathon, had said on Wednesday that water was easily available through the course. “I got enough water when I reached the stalls. I was running around 2 km behind Jaisha, so I’m sure the ones in front would have got enough water as well,” she said.
Raut added the runners did not ask for any energy drinks on the eve of the race. She said she was with Jaisha when she was taken to hospital. “She was unconscious and had been laid on ice. I was with her the whole time, from the ambulance journey to hospital, till when she finally got discharged at around 8:30 at night,” Raut said.