NEW DELHI // India ordered an inquiry Tuesday after an athlete said national officials failed to give her water during the Olympic marathon leading her to collapse, heaping further embarrassment following a poor showing in Rio.
Runner OP Jaisha, 33, told media she collapsed after the women’s marathon because Indian officials failed to provide refreshments at designated country stations during the race.
“I could have died there ... Only once in 8 kilometres did we get water which did not help at all,” Press Trust of India quoted her as saying.
“All the countries had their stalls at every 2kms but our country’s stall was empty,” she said.
The allegations prompted the sports minister to announce an investigation.
“Sports minister constitutes two-member committee to inquire into the allegations of marathon runner OP Jaisha,” a statement issued by sports minister Vijay Goel’s office said.
A string of below-par performances saw India win just two medals – a silver and a bronze – at the Rio Games, fewer than the six clinched during their best-ever performance in London in 2012.
Jaisha’s allegations were yet another blow for Indian officials at the Rio Games who, including Goel, have been widely panned by local media for their behaviour.
The Rio organising committee slammed the minister’s entourage as “aggressive and rude,” and warned him for repeatedly trying to get unaccredited people into the Olympic venues.
The Indian Express newspaper accused Goel of spending his time in Rio taking selfies with "exhausted Indian athletes".
Indian athletes complain of substandard training facilities and a lack of government investment in sport in the country of 1.25 billion.
Jaisha finished 89th in the women’s marathon with a time of 2 hours, 47 minutes, 19 seconds.
India sent a 118-strong athlete contingent to Rio, its largest ever for an Olympic Games, and the sports ministry had set a target of 10 medals.
* Agence France-Presse