Jaisha’s claim is denied by coach

Jaisha’s claim is denied by coach

By SAJI CHACKO | NEW DELHI | 27 August, 2016
O.P. Jaisha.
BelarussianNikolai says the athlete did not ask him for any personalised refreshment before the race.

The entire controversy surrounding marathon runner O.P. Jaisha’s claims that the athletic federation officials had abandoned her during the Rio Games fell flat with sensational revelations made by her personal coach Nikolai Snesarev. The Belarussian maintained that Jaisha had flatly refused any energy drink during the race.

“I had clearly asked her (Jaisha) whether she needed any personalised refreshment during the race. She flatly said no and even said that she wanted only water during the fixed intervals. After hearing from her, I conveyed her message to the Athletic Federation of India (AFI) officials.

When asked whether he was commenting after coming under pressure from the AFI, Nikolai flaty denied this charge. “I want to clarify here that I am not issuing this pressure under the influence of anyone or any federation. I am merely stating the facts as I think the public needs to know the ‘right’ facts,” he said. 

When asked why he had taken such a long time to come out with his version, Nikolai said that he was waiting for an opportune moment. “When such a big controversy happens, one has to wait for the right moment to say something.  In my case, too, I was waiting for the right moment to come out with my version of the events,” he added.

Nikolai’s comments completely quash Jaisha’s claims that despite her asking the AFI officials for personalised refreshments, no one provided her with them and under the scorching heat in Rio she nearly died while running. Her claim has been denied by the AFI.

Nikolai went on to say, "Jaisha had never used individual drinks during competitions from the beginning of her Olympics preparations and she had run with only normal water. She used only normal water provided by organisers during the World Championships in Beijing in August last year. The whole of 2016, Jaisha did not use personalised drinks during competitions," he added.

"But for clarity, as I wanted to clarify from Jaisha, I asked her whether she will need individual drinks or run with normal water in Rio. She said she will run only with normal water provided by the organisers," said the experienced coach. Jaisha, who fainted at the finish line after completing the race in 89th position, had alleged that there was no water, recovery drinks and refreshment available for her and only once in 8km did she get water.

The second Indian in the fray in that marathon race, Kavita Raut had confirmed that she was asked by the AFI officials if she would need personalised refreshments to which she also had said yes since she had never used them earlier in competitions. “Yes , I confirm that the AFI officials had asked me before whether I  needed refreshments during the race, I told them I wanted them,” she said.

Asked if there was sufficient water arranged by the Rio race organisers, Nikolai hinted that it was not so.

"I did not run the race and have not followed Jaisha throughout the entire 42km. How can I? So, I would not know the exact situation. It would seem from a distance that the water arranged by the organisers was sufficient. My situation was as good as yours watching on a television,” he added.

He also said that he had spoken to some runners about the availability of water. "I had spoken to some runners who took part in the race, who finished around 70th and below out of the 157 runners and who ran behind the leading pack, and their coaches. They said water was there but after the 25 to 30km mark, it was not sufficient. That is what these runners and coaches said. I have no means to verify what they said," he added.

There are 4 Comments

Firstly, the coach should know what the athlete needs regardless of whether the athlete asks for it. The coach should know the conditions and provide the support and resources irrespective of whether the athlete uses them. This was the coach playing with the life of an athlete. From a purely medical perspective what was done here was ridiculous! Did the coach and AFI not have a responsiblity to take all precautions to ensure that the athlete's life is not put at risk at the least? What the coach is saying is a blatant abdication of his responsibility. What kind of a worthless coach pushes his trainee to death? He is the coach, it's his responsibility. He cannot leave it to the athlete to decide whether to stock up life-saving water even if the athlete does not request it or denies the need for it. He has to do his job based on his assessment of the athlete's need and leave it to the athlete whether to drink the water or go on. Where is his expertise about the athlete's endurance needs and capacity? Shame on Nikolai. And I watched the responses of all the officials of AFI, a corrupt beaurocracy of losers who are ripping off the Indian tax-payer without any obligation to deliver results. Would you not fire your employee if he doesn't deliver results. All these AFI officials(60 of them! 1 for every 2 athletes!) should hang their head low in shame for not delivering results. They should be fired for not delivering results at least and for criminal neglect of their duty at worst. Can a CEO keep his job without delivering results? Can a sportsman keep his standing without delivering results? Then how do we tolerate these fat officials to keep their job after failing? Shouldn't they be fired for their incompetence and measured by results?

Nikolai Snesarev is incompetent! Does he now know what the athlete needs? He asked her! He has to ask her! That's his excuse! Shame on this low life.

If his situation was as good as any spectator, why was he wasting our money in Rio? He might as well sit with a glass of wine and watch the event from Belarus. Why is he the coach? What is his responsibility to his athletes and trainee? Does he have to ask Jaisha if she wants water? Water of all things? Is it not his duty to know the conditions? What kind of excuse is this? This guy is incapable of doing his job and worse he gives excuses and blames the victim of his failure to do his job! Outrageous! All AFI officials who didn't take any precautionary measures have failed too and must take responsibility. How irresponsible!

Jaisha seems to be a drama queen. She is pointing fingers at her AFI to cover her own substandard performance. Meanwhile, rabble-rousers like some TV debate hosts are fueling her unsubstantiated claims.

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