KOCHI: After having triggered a big controversy with her claim that she was ‘not given water’ in Rio by Indian officials, long distance runner OP Jaisha said she wants to continue till the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but added that she won’t train under Belarusian coach Nikolai Snesarev even if the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) presses her to do so.
“I want to compete in Tokyo. I am now 33 years old now, and will turn 37 at that time, but age won’t matter much if one can perform well. With age, experience will also go up. I am planning to race in the 2017 World Championship, 2018 Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, and finally the Tokyo Olympics,” Jaisha told Express.
However, she maintained that she won’t join her former coach Nikolai, under whom she attained Olympics qualification in marathon.
“After all that happened with me, how can I work with him? I always wanted to break away from him, but only because of AFI’s insistence did I stay with him. That cost me a lot. I had to relinquish the dream of competing in 1500m and 5000m and focus on marathon because Nikolai wanted me to do so. Now, I want to train seperately — either in India or abroad. A final call will be taken later.”
The Asian Games bronze medallist in both 1500m and 5000m events said she will focus on both the events and never return to marathon. “Marathon is not my cup of tea. Instead, I want to focus on track events,” she stated.
Jaisha said that she is still capable of winning an Asian Games medal in 1500m because of her endurance training, but felt that winning at the Commonwealth Games would be a tough ask because of the standard of competition. “But, if I can train peacefully somewhere for a year or two, I can have a go at it,” the Kerala athlete said.