Commonwealth Games 2018: Two Indian athletes suspended for breach of ‘no-needle’ policy
Indian triple jumper Rakesh Babu and race walker Irfan Kolothum Thodi have been ordered to return home
The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) has suspended the accreditation of two Indian athletes, A. V. Rakesh Babu and Irfan Kolothum Thodi for infringement of no-needle policy at the Commonwealth Games.
Though the matter was initially disposed of by the Federation Court of the CGF, the latest decision comes after the CGF made a review of the whole matter. In a statement issued by the CGF preisdent, Louise Martin said that three Indian officials, including the team’s chef-de -mission Vikram Sisodia would be issued a letter of strong reprimand stating any further infraction of the no-needle policy will attract the same penalty.
The statement said that on April 12, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) Federation Court heard a complaint made by the CGF Medical Commission against members of the Indian team competing at the XXI Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia.
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.
Having heard all the parties and considered all the evidence at the hearing which took place on 12 April 2018 before the Federation Court of the Commonwealth Games Federation (“CGF”), the Court found as follows:
Notwithstanding the explanations given to the Court as to the actions taken to communicate the CGF regulations and policies applicable to the XXI Commonwealth Games (the “Games”) to Team Managers, Vikram Singh Sisodia – Chef de Mission, Namdev Shirgaonker – General Team Manager, and Ravinder Chaudhry – Manager, Athletics Team, and other persons acting on behalf of the Commonwealth Games Association of India (“CGA India”) are in breach of the CGF No Needle Policy for the Games (the “No Needle Policy”) in that they failed to ensure compliance with the No Needle Policy.
The testimony of an Incognitus Cleaners Operations Manager as to the discovery of a needle in a cup on the bedside table in bedroom 2 of Apartment 7 in the Games Village assigned to CGA India and occupied by Rakesh Babu – Athlete, Triple Jump, and Irfan Kolothum Thodi – Athlete, Race Walk (“Bedroom 2”) is credible.
The testimony of the Australia Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) Principal Investigator as to the discovery of a syringe in the bag of Rakesh Babu found in Bedroom 2 which said bag Rakesh Babu admitted to be his property is credible.
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.
Breach of No-Needle Policy
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.
In the circumstances: The CGF shall issue a strong reprimand to Vikram Singh Sisodia, Namdev Shirgaonker and Ravinder Chaudhry that they and other persons failed to ensure compliance with the No Needle Policy. 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.
Rakesh Babu and Irfan Kolothum Thodi are with immediate effect not permitted to participate in the Games.
The accreditation of Rakesh Babu and Irfan Kolothum Thodi was suspended with effect from 09:00 hours on April 13, 2018. Both athletes were removed from the Games Village.
Rakesh Babu was to participate in the men’s triple jump on Saturday, April 14, while Irfan had already competed in the men’s 20km walk.
The Indian team officials were not immediately available for comment.
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