Marathoner Kavita Raut dismisses OP Jaisha's claims, says AFI provided her with all facilities

OP Jaisha's fellow marathon runner Kavita Raut has come to the defence of the AFI, saying she didn't face any problems, neither with the AFI's preparations nor with the refreshments being served

FP Sports August 23, 2016 13:32:35 IST
Marathoner Kavita Raut dismisses OP Jaisha's claims, says AFI provided her with all facilities

One day after marathon runner OP Jaisha kicked a hornet's nest with her revelations that Indian officials didn't arrange for water and energy drinks during her race at the Rio Olympics 2016, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has come under a storm of criticism, with several people blaming its officials of apathy towards athletes competing in the Olympics.

But while the blame game has already begun, Jaisha's fellow runner Kavita Raut, who was also participating in the women's marathon on 14 August, has come to the defence of the AFI. In an interview with news agency ANI, Raut has said she didn't face any problems, neither with the AFI's preparations nor with the refreshments being served.

"I can only speak for myself. I was offered energy drinks by the officials before the marathon, but I had refused," Raut was quoted as saying by ANI.

She further said that she had no complaints against the AFI, as they had provided her with the necessary facilities.

Raut's comments are in complete contrast to what Jaisha had said a day ago. The Kerala-based athlete had alleged that marathon runners can't consume refreshments provided by other countries' contingents as this might lead to disqualification. So, in the absence of refreshment centres manned by AFI, Jaisha said she had to depend only on stalls run by the organisers, which lasted only 550 metres.

"It was very hot there. The competition was at 9 am, I ran in scorching heat. There was no water for us, neither recovery drinks nor food. Only once in 8km did we get water (from the Rio organisers), which did not help at all. All the countries had their stalls at every 2 kms, but our country's stall was empty," said Jaisha, a two-time Asian Games bronze medal-winning long distance runner.

"I could have died there," she said, recalling her ordeal. The 33-year-old runner collapsed out of heat and exhaustion at the end of her run, and was helplessly lying on the turf until fellow runner in the men's event Gopi T and his coach rushed in to help.

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