When Indian marathon runner OP Jaisha said the India authorities did not provide her with enough food, water or energy drinks, people took to the Internet to call the authorities out for their reckless attitude. The 33-year-old athlete managed to complete the run, but collapsed at the finish line during the Rio Olympics, finishing 89th in women’s marathon event.
“It was very hot, and since the competition was at 9am, I ran in scorching heat. There was no water for us, neither recovery drinks nor food. Only once in 8km did we get water (from the Rio organisers) which did not help at all. All the countries had their stalls at every 2km but our country’s stall was empty,” Jaisha had said. The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) refuted her claims saying that proper arrangements were made for each team in the marathon.
The spat between the 33-year-old athlete and the AFI has now triggered outrage on the social media, with people questioning the authorities’ biased attitude towards the athletes. People have criticised the authorities for celebrating the success of PV Sindhu, Sakshi Malik and Dipa Karmakar, but overlooking even the basic needs of others. Some have demanded an Ashok Chakra for Jaisha for bravely completing the run even in such harsh weather conditions. Others have suggested that the only way the government can apologise to her now is by giving her a National Bravery Award for running without water for 42km.
Evidently, people were plainly disgusted and hurt by the callous behaviour of the authorities.
So our girls running the marathon had no one to give them water during the race. The Indian desk at the race was unmanned. #Pathetic
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) August 22, 2016
— NG #withRG (@ng_withINC) 22 August 2016
#OPJaisha What in the world were out Indian officials doing? Was this a pleasure trip? Jail them for almost killing our athlete!
— Dr. Vinod Nathaniel (@hardyfuturz) August 22, 2016
— Vinay Tiwari (@VinayTiwari_) 22 August 2016
Athletic Federation officials sound like besharm geriatric idiots defending their indefensible actions in treating athletes at #RioApathyRun
— Madhu Kishwar (@madhukishwar) 22 August 2016
Jaisha underlines that Indian champions overcome not only competition but apathy while risking their life to ACHIEVE greatness #rioapathyrun
— Monica Jasuja (@jasuja) 22 August 2016
— ? SHAILESH ? (@Nibble4) 22 August 2016
None of the Indian officials present to give even water to Indian Marathon athlete OP Jaisha in Rio during the run, and we look for Gold ?
— आशुतोष (@ashu3page) August 22, 2016
Jaisha had previously said to the media that the event was at nine in the morning, and it was terribly hot at the time. Though, just like other countries, India was allotted refreshment stalls, Jaisha was not provided water or energy drinks by the officials.