New Delhi: An inquiry committee formed by the Union Sports Ministry to investigate marathon runner OP Jaisha’s complaints of not being provided refreshments during her Rio Olympics event, has blamed her coach Nikolai Snesarev for the negligence.
The two-member panel also asked the ministry to brief athletes about competition rules and entitlements, and said organisers should get written consent from athletes if they refuse any facilities.
In the two-page report submitted to the ministry, the panel accused Snesarev of refusing personalised drinks for Jaisha on the eve of the event although Indian officials had asked him about the athlete’s requirements.
“Water as available to athletes in general was available to Jaisha as well,”. “However Indian officials were not present at the booths where personalised drinks were kept, but this was because they did not have any request for personalised drink for Jaisha. Coach Snesarev should have been more careful in anticipating the requirements of Jaisha.”
Jaisha, who finished 89th in the race, had alleged that no water or refreshments were made available to her during the run. She had fainted from dehydration after completing the 42-km race. According to Jaisha, the Indian desks at the event were empty, even as other countries provided their athletes with glucose and water every 2.5 km.
Jaisha’s allegations had stirred a massive controversy. Sports Minister Vijay Goel had said that the Indian Olympic Association was responsible for providing facilities for athletes at the Rio Games. On August 23, the Athletics Federation of India had refuted Jaisha’s allegations and said that she and her coach had declined their offer of personalised drinks.
Later, Snesarev had claimed that the 33-year-old athlete had never asked for any special refreshments. “I asked Jaisha whether she would use personalised drinks or normal water provided by organisers. She said she would use normal water. Then I told Nair she would not need personalised refreshment,” Snesarev had said. Jaisha, on the other hand, had blamed Snesarev for not telling the AFI to make the arrangements.