Updates: According to reports, the IOA has now issued a statement saying that they will appeal the decision made by CGF to remove Indian athletes from the village. This is going to be a long drawn-out battle clearly.
As if the games have been devoid of controversy till now, these seems to have been yet another incident of great relevance to Team India. In an embarrassment, two athletes from the country have been sent home on grounds of a second violation of the No-Needle policy concerning Indians- Rakesh Babu and KT Irfan.
The racewalker Irfan had already finished with his event. As of last night, the Australian Anti Doping Agency have revoked the participation and accreditation of both these athletes. Rakesh Babu, meanwhile, was slated to compete in the Men’s Triple Jump Finals due to be held tomorrow along with compatriot Arpinder Singh.
A press release by the Commonwealth Games Federation said:
The Chef de Mission of the Commonwealth Games Association of India (‘CGA India’), Vikram Singh Sisodia; General Team Manager, Namdev Shirgaonker; Athletics Team Manager, Ravinder Chaudhry; two athletes, Rakesh Babu and Irfan Kolothum Thodi; and other individuals (Team Managers) associated with CGA India were found by the CGF Federation Court to be in breach of the CGF No Needle Policy for the Games (the ‘No Needle Policy’). All five individuals were found to be in breach of the Policy.
A little flashback is in order here. Before the games even began, there had been quite an uproar within the Indian ranks after needles and improperly disposed of syringes had found been found outside one of the accommodations which housed Indian boxers. The contingent had been let off with a reprimand after it was found that the team doctor Amol Patil had administered vitamins after one of the boxers had been feeling unwell.
This is a whole different ball game altogether, however. According to the CGF Press release, the two athletes had been questioned regarding the presence of needles in their luggage and the Commonwealth Court found their justifications to be “unreliable and evasive.”
The Release further went on to add:
‘Rakesh Babu and Irfan Kolothum Thodi are in breach of the No Needle Policy in that they failed to ensure compliance with the No Needle Policy and, in particular, failed to ensure compliance with paragraphs I, II, III and IV of the No Needle Policy.
Paragraph 1 and 2 of the CGF’s no-needle policy deal with safe storage and disposal of the needles away from the Athletes Village and in a secure location while the last two paragraphs deal with the fine print of Therapeutic Use Exemption and the “Injection Declaration Form” which is required to be submitted by the CGF under the circumstances of injection administration.