Commonwealth Games: Two Indian athletes banned after needle found in room
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Commonwealth Games: Two Indian athletes banned after needle found in room

TWO Indian athletes are being sent home from the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games after a needle was found in a cup in their bedroom at the Athletes’ Village, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) said on Friday.

Triple jumper Rakesh Babu and race walker Irfan Kolothum Thodi, along with three team officials appeared before a CGF hearing on Thursday, said CGF President Louise Martin.

“The testimony of the athletes … are both unreliable and evasive,” Martin told reporters. “Rakesh Babu and Irfan Kolothum Thodi are in breach of the ‘no-needles’ policy.

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“Babu and Thodi are with immediate effect not permitted to participate in the Games. Their accreditation was suspended and both athletes have been removed from the village.

“We have asked the Commonwealth Games association of India to depart Australia on the first flights available.”

The three team officials — chef de mission Vikram Singh Sisodia, team manager Namdev Shirgaonker and athletics team manager Ravinder Chaudhry — were all reprimanded, Martin said, adding that any further infractions by the Indian team could result in the withdrawal of accreditation.

At a press conference on Friday, the Indian team is reportedly planning to appeal the decision, according to a post on Twitter from the sports editor of the New Indian Express.

Babu was the 12th and final qualifier for the men’s triple jump final on Saturday. Thodi finished 13th in the men’s 20km race walk last Sunday.

Athletes must have a specific medical exemption to have needles at the Games as part of the fight against doping.

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This is the second instance of Indian athletes being found in breach of the ‘no needles’ policy at this Games. In the days leading up to the opening ceremony, doctor Amol Patil from the Indian boxing team was reprimanded for not properly disposing of a syringe.

Patil had administered a Vitamin B complex injection to a sick boxer and left needles in the room, breaking CGF rules regarding their proper storage.

The matter was not defined as an anti-doping rule violation, but the entire India delegation was warned by the CGF there would be repercussions if they breached the rules again.

Additional reporting by Reuters