New Delhi: How tough is it to run a marathon (42.195 km) without getting enough water to drink? Ask India's national record holder OP Jaisha who collapsed at the end of the gruelling run in Rio, thanks to the apathy of Indian officials who provided nothing, not even water, during the women's race at 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," a distraught Jaisha told to a news agency here recalling her ordeal.
"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," said Jaisha, who finished the race in 2 hours, 47.19s. She had clocked 2:34.43s in Beijing Worlds last year to finish 18th.
"While other athletes had the luxury of taking glucose, honey etc there was nothing for us (Jaisha and Kavita) to drink at our stations. Not even water," Jaisha said, her voice choking with emotion.
India finished a poor 67th after winning just two medals. Shuttler PV Sindhu won a Silver while wrestler Sakshi Malik shared Bronze. Barring steeplechaser Lalita Babar, Indian athletes failed to qualify for the finals of any track and field event.
India also failed to procure any medals in their traditional strong zones. Shooting, boxing and archery failed to yield medals while the Indian men's hockey team which qualified for the knockout stages after 34 years, was thrashed by Belgium in the quarterfinals.