Indian athletes Rakesh Babu and Irfan Kolothum Thodi 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 Babu, race walker Thodi and three Indian team officials had appeared before a CGF hearing on Thursday, CGF President Louise Martin told reporters.
“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.
“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 added.
“The CGF shall advise Vikram Singh Sisodia, Namdev Shirgaonker and Ravinder Chaudhry that any further infractions by any member of the Indian team of the ‘no-needle’ policy could result in the withdrawal of accreditation of the offending person,” she said.
The Indian team were not immediately available for comment and the CGF refused to take any further questions.
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.
It is the second time the Indian team was in breach of the policy after boxing team doctor Amol Patil was issued a strong written reprimand last week after needles were discovered in a plastic bottle.
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 breach the rules again.