With the Sports Ministry and the Athletics Federation Of India refuting O.P. Jaisha's allegation that no Indian officials were on hand to give her water at regular intervals at the Rio Olympics, the 33-year-old runner is sticking to her story.
The AFI says that Jaisha and her coach had refused the offer for refreshments to be served along the 42-kilometer-long marathon. The runner, who finished 89th, collapsed at the end of the race.
"Why would I say such a huge lie, when I have never complained even once in my entire sports career?" Jaisha told ANI. "I am sure that had something grave happened to me, AFI would have still said that O.P. Jaisha didn't avail refreshment."
With public outrage growing over the shoddy treatment which Jaisha has alleged, Union Sports Minister Vijay Goyal has said that his ministry should not be blamed, and it is the Indian Olympic Association which is responsible for such matters.
"I will definitely look into the matter and find out the real facts. I will find out what was the reason behind ignoring such crucial aspects," he said.
Jaisha has previously told The Times of India that while officials from other countries were providing refreshments to their runners after every 2.5 kilometers, there was no one around from India. While the organizers of the Olympic Games had provided water at eight kilometer intervals, Jaisha said that it just wasn't enough.
"There was no one from India and our desks were empty next to the country's name and flag," she told TOI.
Jaisha took 2:47:19 to finish the race, far slower than the 2:34.43 which she clocked at the World Athletics Championship in Beijing, last year.
Meanwhile, Kavita Raut, who finished 120th in the marathon at Rio, told ANI that she had no complaints against AFI. "I can only speak for myself, I was offered energy drinks etc by the officials before marathon but I had refused," she said.
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