• O P Jaisha’s coach refutes allegations of neglect, says she was offered refreshments

    A new twist has emerged in the OP Jaisha controversy. To refresh our memory, the marathon runner had accused the Indian officials of neglecting athletes, stating that they were absent from their designated points, and did not provide water to her while she ran the 42 km marathon at the Olympics. In the latest,  Her coach Nikolai Snesarev has refuted the claim made by Jaisha, stating that she herself denied any personalised refreshment provided by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI), when asked.

    “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 will use personalised drinks or normal water provided by organisers. She said she will use normal water only. Then I told Nair that she will not need personalised refreshment and she would prefer pure water. That is it,” said Snesarev who is currently based in SAI Centre in Bengaluru, as reported by Firstpost.

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    National level runner Jaisha accused AFI for not providing water or energy drinks during the course of the race when the sun was blazing on her head because of which she fainted immediately after completing the race.  AFI has denied the claim.

    Snesarev further explained that Jaisha had never asked for any personalised drinks while preparing for Olympics when she used to run marathons and competitions. She only consumed normal water when she ran at the World Championship held in Beijing in August last year and that even in 2016; she did not once have anything apart from water during competitions. Being her coach he knew this fact about her but still before the Olympic run, he clarified from her if she needed any kind of drink and she replied in a negative.

    Jaisha managed to finish the race at the 89th rank, but she claimed she only got to drink water once and in the second half there was no water available. She only got water once every 8km.

    Another runner from India, Kavita Raut has confirmed that she was also asked by the AFI officials if she would need any personalised drink or refreshment. She also denied as she had not used any of those during competitions in the past.

    Also read: Grace under Fire: Female athletes at the Olympics by Elsamarie DSilva

    However, the Belarusian coach did acknowledge that there was not enough water provided for the runners but he said he cannot be sure about it.

    “I had spoken to some runners who took part in the race, who finished around 70th and below out of the 157 runners and who ran behind the leading pack, and their coaches. They said water was there but after the 25 to 30km mark, it was not sufficient. That is what these runners and coaches said. I have no means to verify what they said,” said Snesarev who said that Jaisha also told him the same thing after the run, reported Indian Express.

    It’s back to Jaisha for round three of this battle.

    What do you think about this controversy? Do share your views in the comments section below.

    Feature Image Credit: India Times

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