Bengaluru, Aug 22 : Long-distance runner OP Jaisha, who fainted at the end of gruelling race at the just-concluded Rio Olympics, has alleged that she neither received water nor energy drinks at refreshment points from the Indian officials during her marathon event under blistering heat.
"Even in a local marathon (42km), there is adequate availability of refreshments and water, which is extremely important.
Not a single Indian official was present at designated points to provide refreshments and water to runners.
Special arrangements were made for runners from all other nations who participated. I don't know what they (Indian officials) were thinking," a distraught Jaisha 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 but I got nothing," said the 33-year-old Kerala-born athlete, who currently holds the national record in marathon.
Recalling her ordeal, Jaisha said, "I only remember completing my race. I don't remember what had happened after three hours of finishing the race. I was not able to open my eyes. My temperature was so high that I was put on ice and when I regained my consciousness I found out that bottles of glucose were injected in both my hands to help me recover." While accusing the Indian authorities of showing partiality towards the long-distance runners, the veteran athlete, who finished 89th in Rio Olympics women's marathon event with a timing of 2:47:19, insisted that she would have made a better finish had she received water and refreshments on time.
"We used to practice in cold conditions in Ooty and suddenly running under 45 degrees was extremely tough and nearly impossible to do," she said, stressing that it was the duty of the coach and federation officials to assign people to make arrangements.
As per rules, India could have assigned four officials at four points in addition to the official stations to provide water and refreshments but Jaisha had to rely on the latter which was placed about 8 km apart.