Marathon runner O.P. Jaisha has refuted allegations from the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) that she refused energy drinks as she ran the marathon at the Rio Olympics.
Jaisha collapsed at the finish line of the gruelling 42-km marathon race without any support from Indian officials, who according to her, were missing at desks placed by countries to provide water and other required nutrients for the race.
But C.K. Valson, AFI secretary, has said it is untrue that officials were missing. “We could have provided water and energy drinks to our athletes but neither they nor their coaches informed us that they would need water and energy drinks separately,” said Valson, who was in Rio with the team.
Interestingly, he also said that Jaisha and her coach had refused the offer to have refreshments served at the counters that Indian officials could have manned.
But the marathon runner has come out strongly against the claims by AFI.
"Why would I lie? There was no water in Rio...I am not blaming the Sports Authority of India or the administration...After 21 km, I was really exhausted, I couldn't even walk for a metre," the Kerala athlete told TV channels on Monday night.
"There needs to be an inquiry...I am sure that had something grave happened to me, AFI would have still said that O.P. Jaisha didn't avail refreshment," she told ANI.
"Running that distance, in that heat, you need so much water. There is a common water point after 8 km, but you need water after each kilometre. Other athletes were getting food along the way. I got nothing," she added.
Jaisha, who placed 89th in the marathon, has said that while she struggled, Indian officials had no idea about her condition. "After three hours, they came looking for me to the medical centre," she said.
But the AFI said that when Jaisha collapsed in Rio, organisers acted swiftly and "within no time the Indian team manager and deputy chief coach of the Indian athletics team accompanied her to the hospital," PTI reported.
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