The Athletics Federation of India has refuted runner OP Jaisha’s allegations that no country officials provided her with water or refreshments during her marathon run at the Rio Olympics. The AFI has said arrangements were made for her 42-km marathon, but that she and her coach had declined the offer of personalised drinks for the athlete, according to PTI.
Jaisha had collapsed at the finish line and was sent to the hospital after the marathon. She alleged that she was not given any refreshments and that there were no Indian officials at the stalls that had been put up every 2 km, while other countries provided their athletes with amenities.
A statement from AFI said teams were allowed to have personalised drinks at their booths. It added that, “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… In this case, the two athletes, Ms Jaisha and Ms Raut declined the offer and informed the Indian team manager that they didn't require personalised drink, and if at all they required it during the race, they would use the drinks available at the water booth and refreshment booth provided by the organisers.”
The organisation added that Jaisha had declined personalised drinks at the Beijing World Championships in 2015 as well, reported PTI. It said the men marathon runners were provided refreshments as their coach Surender Sigh had requested them. The AFI's statement said the Olympics organisers had also stationed a medical booth every 5 km of the course and that two ambulances accompanied the athletes, adding that there was “no reason to complain”. “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,” it said.
On Monday, Sports Minister Vijay Goel said he would look into the issue, and that the Indian Olympic Association was responsible for providing facilities for athletes at the Games.