Men marathoners happy with facilities during Rio race

New Delhi, Aug 31 (IANS) India’s men marathoners T. Gopi and Kheta Ram have asserted that the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) provided them the required water and energy drinks during their event on August 21 at the Rio Olympics, unlike the claims made by woman marathoner O.P. Jaisha.

Jaisha, shortly after arriving in the country, had alleged she was not provided water and energy drinks by Indian officials at designated stations during her race on August 14 in Rio de Janeiro.

Jaisha said she could have died after the women’s marathon in Rio as she finished in the 89th place and collapsed after finishing the 42km race in two hours 47 minutes 19 seconds.

But, Gopi and Ram on Tuesday night said after the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon launch event that even though they were not aware of the problems Jaisha faced, the facilities offered to them during their race were good.

Gopi, who finished 25th, said: “I can’t say whether it was provided to her or not, but for me, I got enough water and supplements during the race.

“It was a tough race in Rio and I did my best. I was in good condition till the 33km mark and afterwards, I lost the energy and my body became tight — it happens during such long races,” the Kerala long-distance runner added.

“I went to the Olympic Games for the first time and it was a fantastic experience for me.”

Kheta Ram, a popular figure in Indian long-distance running, echoed Gopi’s remarks.

Asked about Jaisha’s allegations, Kheta Ram shrugged them off by saying: “I won’t say anything regarding that.” When asked further, he said: “I cannot say what happened to her. But we got good treatment there.”

The Rajasthan athlete added: “Hamare liye koi dikkat nahi thi (We faced no problems there). We were given what we wanted.”

Kheta Ram also said that he will keep his options open for competing in 5,000 metres ,10,000 metres and marathon in future competitions.

When asked how he will adjust to the demands of training for three events, he said: “Training in 5k and 10k is more or less similar to the training and the schedule needed for marathons. Also, I keep myself mentally and physically ready for three races.”

–IANS

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