Indian Athletes Sent Home From Commonwealth Games After Violating ‘No Needle Policy’

Two Indian athletes have been removed from the athletes village and ordered to take the next plane home after they were found in violation of the Commonwealth Games ‘No Needle Policy’.

Commonwealth Games Federation president Louise Martin revealed five officials and athletes had been found in breach of the policy after cleaner found a needle in a cup beside the table of a room occupied by Indian track and field athletes Rakesh Babu and Irfan Kolothum Thodi.

Babu is a triple jumper and Thodi is a race walker.

In a statement issued by the CGF, Martin said the principal investigator for the Australia Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) also discovered a syringe in the bag of Babu.

“The testimony of athletes Rakesh Babu and Irfan Kolothum Thodi, who denied all knowledge of the needle in the cup in bedroom two 2, and the further testimony of Rakesh Babu that he had no knowledge of the syringe found in his bag in Bedroom 2 are both unreliable and evasive,” Martin said.

“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 …. Rakesh Babu and Irfan Kolothum Thodi are with immediate effect not permitted to participate in the Games.

Rakesh Babu during competition in the triple jump. Picture: AP
Rakesh Babu during competition in the triple jump. Picture: AP
“The accreditation of Rakesh Babu and Irfan Kolothum Thodi was suspended with effect from 9am on April 13, 2018. Both athletes were removed from the Games Village.

“We have asked the Commonwealth Games Association of India to ensure both athletes depart Australia on the first flight available.”

The CGF also issued strong reprimands to Indian officials Vikram Singh Sisodia, Namdev Shirgaonker and Ravinder Chaudhry.

“As we have said previously, the Commonwealth Games takes a no tolerance approach to these matters,” Martin said.

“When the Commonwealth Games Federation says no tolerance, the Commonwealth Games Federation means no tolerance.”

The decision to send two Indian athletes home comes only 24 hours after officials from the CGF and ASADA revealed a number of athletes were removed from contention in the lead-up to the Games due to violations of the anti-doping police.

Three of those athletes were Australians. ASADA chief executive Davies Sharpe confirmed they were yet to record a positive test during the Games themselves.

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