The second Indian competing in the women’s marathon at the Rio Olympics, Kavita Raut has sought to clear the claims of O.P. Jaisha controversy, accusing the Indian officials of being ‘absent’ at the designated table where water and refreshments were to be supplied to the runners, insisting it added to her discomfort that ultimately led to her falling unconscious on the finish line.
Kavtia, who finished 120th in the race with the timing of 2hrs 59 minutes and 29 seconds, said she faced no trouble and has no complaints against the Indian officials.
“I don’t want to be involved in the Jaisha issue. I will speak for myself, and as far as I am concerned I have no issues. I got enough water when I reached the stalls. I was running around 2 km behind Jaisha, so I’m assuming the ones in front would have got enough water as well” says Raut
Jaisha, who fell unconscious at the finished line after completing the race in 89th position, had claimed there was no water only once in every 8 kms, when other countries refreshment counters were just 2kms apart.
To her claims Raut added the athletes were summoned for a brief meeting with the Atletics Federation of India (AFI) officials, including its secretary CK Valson on the eve of the race. Jaisha, however, was not present at the meeting.
“At the meeting we discussed the schedule for the following day. They also showed me some specialized bottles and asked me if I wanted any personal drink in them. I declined because I’ve never used them before, so I didn’t accept them this time around as well. I told them that I’ll pick up water from the organizers’ stall,” said Raut
Though Jaisha and her coach Nikolai Snesarev were not present at the meeting, hence she was unsure if the AFI’s message was communicated to her teammate. Nonetheless, she asserted that given Snesarev’s experience, the coach-runner duo might have been aware of the procedure. “I’m assuming her coach would have known since he’s been at many World Championship marathon events. Even if Jaisha didn’t know, her coach would have been aware from experience. This was my first event of this magnitude, so I didn’t know. The federation asked me a day ahead, so I’m guessing they would have asked them too,” she added.
Jaisha was rushed to the hospital after she collapsed at the finishing line, where her coach Nikolai Snesarev got into an altercation with the one of the doctors treating her and ended up being detained for half-a-day by local police.
After the marathon, Raut inquired about Jaisha’s whereabouts and soon found Jaisha at the medical station.
“She was unconscious and had been laid down on ice. I was with her the whole time, from the ambulance journey to hospital, till when she finally got discharged at around 8:30 at night,” Raut added.