Marathon runner OP Jaisha has responded to the statement released by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) denying all allegations levelled at them by the athlete. Jaisha has said that the cameras installed at the Games can prove that she wasn't lying about the officials not providing energy drinks during the marathon and that there needs to be an inquiry into the matter.
"There are cameras everywhere now, they should check the cameras and they will get the answer. Why would I say such a huge lie, when I have never complained even once in my entire sports career?," Jaisha told ANI. "I can't fight against the government or AFI and win, maybe, but God and I know the truth, and I owe that to sports... I am sure that had something grave happened to me, AFI would have still said that OP Jaisha didn't avail refreshment."
Meanwhile, Kavita Raut, who also ran the marathon at Rio, has denied the allegation, saying that the AFI had provided them with all facilities.
"I can only speak for myself, I was offered energy drinks etc by the officials before marathon but I had refused. OP Jaisha and her coach didnt join the Assemblies so maybe thats why they didnt know about keeping a personal water bottle," Raut told ANI.
The AFI had refuted allegations made by Jaisha, saying that the athlete and her coach refused to avail the option of "personalised drinks" during the race at the Rio Olympics.
"Each team is allowed to keep their own personalised drinks on the booths, marked in a colour as per the choice of the team and athlete. Accordingly, as per the rule, 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," the AFI said in the statement.
It added that the team manager had asked the athletes for their choice of personalised drink that would be sealed in their presence and given to the organisers to install at the booth along with a placard.
Jaisha, who finished 89th in the women's marathon event at the Rio Olympics, had accused the AFI of official apathy, alleging that they didn't provide water or any refreshment during the race. She said that officials from all other countries had a refreshment stall put up every two kilometres but India's desk was empty. She also said that she could have "died there" due to the callous attitude of the Indian officials.
The AFI statement added that Jaisha and Raut refused the offer and informed the team manager that if they required any drink during the race, they would take it from the water booth or the refreshment booth provided by the organisers.
"Therefore, it is an incorrect statement made by Ms OP Jaisha that the Indian officials accompanying the team did not provide her water or any other form of tonic drinks... Further, it is also informed that Ms Jaisha had declined to use personalised drink in another event, the 2015 World Championships held in Beijing and the coach informed the Indian team management that she wasn't in the habit of using personalised drinks," the AFI said.
The federation also stated that an athlete can face disqualification upon accepting a drink from any person or official standing along the course of the run except the personalised drink or drinks provided by the organisers at the water and refreshments booths.
"The AFI vouches that the arrangement for marathon race... was commendable and as per the rules and regulations pertaining to conduct of a marathon race... The organisers installed one water point per every 2.5 km and one refreshment booth per every 2.5 km... The organisers installed one medical booth per every 5km on the marathon course, and two ambulances accompanied the runners — one ahead and one behind the group of marathoners," the statement added.