New Delhi/Nagpur: While the whole country is basking in the stupendous success stories of Dipa Karmakar, Sakshi Malik and PV Sindhu, another of India’s athlete daughters at Rio faced an utterly inhuman treatment at the hands of our officials.
OP Jaisha, India’s national record holder, was running a tough marathon race when she collapsed at the finish line. The 42.195 km run couldn’t have been possible to finish, leave alone win without water. But that’s exactly what Jaisha missed. Thanks to the apathy of the Indian officials who failed to provide her the crucial drink at the refreshment points. “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,” said a distressed Jaisha.
The runner finished her race in 2 hours, 47.19 seconds. This wonder woman has clocked a beautiful 2:34.43 seconds in Beijing in 2015 to finish 18th.
“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,” bemoaned Jaisha.
While other runners had the luxury to boost their energy with glucose and honey, the Indian officials couldn’t even provide water to Jaisha and another runner Kavita.
As a result, Jaisha collapsed at the finish line and regained her consciousness only after 2-3 hours. Seven bottles of glucose were administered to her and sticking by her side were fellow runner Gopi T and coach Radhakrishnan Nair.
According to sources, as per IAAF rules, “It is the duty of the coach and federation officials to assign people for this. One country’s athletes are not supposed to drink from stuff kept for others as it could lead to a warning and then disqualification,”
Jaisha returned to India on Saturday but refused to get hospitalised despite the fact that she ran a fever. “I was OK for the next few days. But now I’m feeling very weak and it will take at least 2-3 months of ayurvedic treatment and massage for my body to recover,” said Jaisha.
Jaisha is not an unknown name in Sporting circles – she has already won laurels for the country in the last decade.
Jaisha Orchatteri Puthiya Veetil born 23 May 1983 in Kerala, commonly known as O. P. Jaisha, is an Indian track and field athlete . She is the current national record holder in the marathon, a distinction she achieved by clocking 2:34:43 at the 2015 World Championship in Beijing. In the process she bettered her own mark of 2:37:29, set at the 2015 Mumbai marathon where she stood first among women. An alumnus of Assumption College Changanassery, Jaisha competes in middle and long distance events, including 1500 metres, 3000 metres,3000 meters steeplechase , and 5000 metres. She won gold in 1500 metres, 3000 metres at the 1st Asian Indoor Games held at Bangkok in 2005.
This veteran Sports woman definitely deserved more support and back up. Wonder why a large contingent of Indian authorities, including Sports Minister Vijay Goyal have travelled to Rio at the tax payers’ expense if they cannot do even this much?
What is our Sports Minister Vijay Goel doing in Rio?
Instead of helping our athletes, our Minister has managed to put off the Olympic Organizers. Miffed with Indian Sports Minister Vijay Goel’s entourage, Rio Olympic organisers have threatened to cancel his accreditation if unaccredited people accompanying him do not end their “aggressive and rude” behaviour.
“We have had multiple reports of your Minister for Sports trying to enter accredited areas at venues with unaccredited individuals. When the staff try to explain that this is not allowed, they report that the people with the Minister have become aggressive and rude and sometimes push past our staff,” Sarah Peterson, who is Continental Manager for Rio 2016 Organising Committee, said in a letter to Indian Chef-de-Mission Rakesh Gupta.
Goel is in Rio de Janeiro to cheer for the Indian contingent besides monitoring their requirements at the Games Village.