In a heartfelt interview, marathon runner OP Jaisha, who returned from Rio Olympics on Saturday, said that while all other countries' personnel were present at 2.5 km intervals with water and refreshments, there was no one from India. The female athlete who ran 42.195 km fainted for two-three hours after reaching the finishing line.
The athlete said that while other athletes were given glucose and honey to replenish their electrolytes, Jaisha and Kavita Raut were provided water and sponge only at 8 km intervals. Jaisha finished her race in 2 hours, 47.19s.
"Though there were officials from all other countries to provide refreshments to their runners at designated points -- after every 2.5 km -- there was no one from India and our desks were empty next to the country's name and flag," Jaisha told the Times of India.
"I don't know how I managed to finish without getting enough water to drink. The organizers provided water and sponge only at 8-km intervals. The water from these stations lasted hardly 500m and it was almost impossible to run after the 30-km mark under the scorching sun," said Jaisha, who ran under temperature ranging up to 42 degrees Celsius. Many have said that she's lucky to be alive.
She also said that doctors from her contingent were not there to help when she fainted at the finish line.
They injected seven bottles of glucose to help me recover. I didn't see any doctor from our contingent while help came from fellow marathon runner Gopi T and coach Radhakrishnan Nair. Coach Nikolai Snesearev was also there for few hours before he was taken away by the organisers," she said.
Even when I suffered an injury during the training period the coach didn't give me time to recover. Moreover, we always trained early in the morning, first in Ooty and later in Rio. So, it was tough to adjust to the heat here," she added.
Sports commentator Harsha Bhogle spoke out against the ordeal Jaisha faced.
So our girls running the marathon had no one to give them water during the race. The Indian desk at the race was unmanned. #Pathetic" he tweeted. He also called for a probe on the matter.
Meanwhile, a study on the spending by India for Olympics revealed that India spends one third to fourth of what the United Kingdom spends for its athletes. The U.K., which won 67 medals as compared to India's two, spends on lesser number of athletes than India. U.K. Sport spent Â£72,786,652 for the Rio Olympics (2013-2017), according to official data.