Two Indian athletes sent home for needle policy breach

The Olympics Sports team Abdul Rahim and Muhammad Sadiq Padela, Gold Coast, Australia, Apr 13, 2018: Two Indian track and field athletes Rakesh BABU and Irfan KOLOTHUM THODI have been sent home for breaching the no-needle policy at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games athletes village (Two Indian athletes sent home).

Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) president Louise MARTIN (SCO) said both athletes were removed from the Games village and are not permitted to participate in the Games after having their accreditation suspended at 09:00 on Friday 13 April.

“We have asked the Commonwealth Games Association of India to ensure both athletes depart Australia on the first flight available,” said MARTIN, who read out a CGF statement to the GOLDOC daily briefing.

She said a CGF Federation Court found five Indian team member were in breach of the CGF no-needle policy.

They include Indian chef de mission Vikram Singh SISODIA, general team manager Namdev SHIRGAONKER, athletics team manager Ravinder CHAUDHRY and the two athletes.

The CGF Federation Court hearing on 12 April heard a needle was found in the Games village in a cup on the bedside table in bedroom two of apartment seven occupied by triple jumper BABU and race walker KOLOTHUM THODI and also in a bag in the same bedroom.

“The testimony of athletes Rakesh BABU and Irfan KOLOTHUM THODI, who denied all knowledge of the needle in the cup in bedroom 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,” said MARTIN, reading from the statement.

The CGF has issued a strong reprimand to all five Indian team members and said any further infractions by the Indian team of the no-needle policy could result in more accreditations being withdrawn.

“As we have said previously, the Commonwealth Games takes a no-tolerance approach to these matters. When the Commonwealth Games Federation says no tolerance, the Commonwealth Games Federation means no tolerance,” MARTIN said. —- GC2018

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