The controversy surrounding athlete OP Jaisha, who complained against alleged negligence by Indian officials during the women's marathon at the Rio Olympics is deepening. Coach Nicolai Snesarev claimed that the 33-year-old athlete never asked for any special refreshments, agreeing to use whatever was provided by the organisers.
The Kerala athlete had earlier accused the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) if not arranging for water and refreshments for her during the race, claiming that this led to her collapsing after getting past the finish line. She finished in 89th position.
The Belarusian, who has gained a reputation as a tough taskmaster told PTI, "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 would use personalised drinks or normal water provided by organisers. She said she would use normal water. Then I told Nair she would not need personalised refreshment."Jaisha had blamed Snesarev for not telling the AFI to make the arrangements. Snesarev pointed out that Jaisha had in fact run several races before the Rio Olympics in similar conditions.
He said, "Jaisha had never used individual drinks during competitions from the beginning of her Olympics preparations and she had run with normal water. She used the normal water provided by the organisers during the World Championships in Beijing in August last year. All of 2016, Jaisha did not use personalised drinks during competitions."
Kavita Raut, who ran the same marathon, also contradicted Jaisha, mentioning that the AFI officials did ask the night before the race whether she would need additional fluids. Snesarev added that before the race commenced, he had checked again with Jaisha, and got the same answer.