Rio de Janeiro: OP Jaisha and Kavita Raut, considered among the best distance runners in India and medalists at the Asian Games in the past, found themselves out of depth in the Olympic Games women's marathon and finished way behind in the 150-plus field in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.
National record holder Jaisha, bronze medalist in the 5,000m and 1,500m respectively at the 2006 and 2014 Asiads in Doha and Incheon, ended up 89th by finishing the energy-sapping 42.1-km race in two hours, 47 minutes, 19 seconds.
The 33-year-old Kerala-born runner's time was more than 23 minutes behind the gold medal winner Jemima Jelegat Sumgong (2:24:04) of Kenya.
At the half way mark she was lagging behind the leader by three and a half minutes but then slowed down further, unable to sustain her early pace. She was well off her personal best of 2:34:43 as well as behind season's best of 2:42:26. She was 67th after 30 kms and slipped to 87th with 2kms to go.
Jaisha had achieved her personal best at the World Championship at Beijing last year where she finished 18th overall.
Kavita, who won medals in the 5000m and 10,000m six years ago in the Guangzhou Asian Games, finished further behind in the 120th spot by clocking a shade under three hours (2:59:29).
The 31-year-old Maharashtra athlete finished 35 minutes behind the champion from Kenya after being nearly ten minutes off the leader's pace at the half way stage of the gruelling race.
Kavita started off much slowly and had a woeful first 30 kms which she crossed in 2:02:24 and was in 122nd place at that stage. By the 40km mark, she improved her position by 2 places.
The silver was won by Bahrain's Eunice Jepkirui Kirwa (2:24:13) while the bronze went to Mare Dibaba of Ethiopia (2:24:30) in a sprint finish.
Twenty three runners who started the race could not finish it.