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Simply put: Beyond noise and debates, a few facts on OP Jaisha’s marathon race

The marathoner’s claim that she ‘could have died’ after being denied fluids by Indian sports officials at Rio has triggered controversy.

Written by Nihal Koshie |
August 25, 2016 4:38:34 am
rio, rio olympics, olympics, op jaisha, olympic marathon, o p jaisha treatment, o p jaisha denied water, no water, olympics politics, water booths at rio olympics, rio olympics water booth, indian athelete, IAAF, indian express news, explained Marathon runner OP Jaisha cried foul over the apathy of the Indian officials during her marathon event in Rio. (Source: PTI)

The Indian Express explains how marathons work in this respect, where the water booths are along the route, and what the rules say.

What was marathoner O P Jaisha’s complaint which has triggered a storm over the way India’s athletes are allegedly treated?

Jaisha, who finished 89th in the women’s marathon at the recently concluded Rio Olympics, said the water stalls were 8 kilometres apart on the 42.1 km course. This, she said, drained her out and left her completely dehydrated. After crossing the finish line, she fell unconscious. Jaisha alleged that the “India” water and refreshment stalls had no official.

What do the competition rules of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) for 2015-16 say in this matter?

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The rule book for road events says it is mandatory to have water booths after every 5 kilometres. In 10 km-plus races, the distance between booths can be lesser, depending on the local conditions. It is the duty of the organising committee to provide refreshment and water to participants. In marathons, the first water station is at 2.5 kilometres, and the first refreshment station, which has supplements and even food, is at 5 kilometres.

What was the marathon route at the Rio Olympics?

The women’s marathon was conducted over a 10-kilometre loop. According to the route map accessed by The Indian Express, there were four water points along this course. Athletics Federation of India (AFI) officials too confirmed the presence of water points at every 2.5 kilometres.

WATCH VIDEO: Coach, IAAF Dismiss OP Jaisha Claims



So, can a participant have drinks of their choice, and also their personal coaches at water stalls, during the Olympic marathon?

Yes, athletes can decide if they want personal refreshments to be provided during the race. Officials of the national federation must collect the bottles from the race organisers for filling personal refreshments of their athletes. But the athlete or his/her coach must provide the contents which are placed in a sealed bottle, and kept under the supervision of officials designated by the organising committee. An area is designated for the country stalls during the course of the marathon, from where the competing athletes can be handed their personal refreshments.

And why was the “India” stall not manned?

According to AFI secretary C K Valson, the bottles into which the athlete’s refreshments were to be transferred, were collected from the organisers. However, the athlete’s personal coach, Belarus-born Nikolai Snesarev, according to Valson, said that there was no need for personal refreshment for Jaisha. The other participant from India in the women’s marathon, Kavita Raut, too declined to avail of personal refreshments. “I had declined personalised drinks for myself. I’ve never used them before, so I didn’t accept them this time around as well. I told them that I’d pick up water from the organisers’ stall. And that’s what I did,” Raut told The Indian Express.

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