In­dia set to ap­peal as ath­letes fall foul of ‘no nee­dles’ pol­icy

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

IN­DIAN team of­fi­cials will ap­peal a de­ci­sion to throw ath­letes Rakesh Babu and Ir­fan Kolothum Thodi out of the Com­mon­wealth Games af­ter they were found to have breached an anti- dop­ing ‘no-nee­dles’ pol­icy.

Triple jumper Babu and race walker Thodi had their ac­cred­i­ta­tion re­voked and were asked to re­turn home as soon as pos­si­ble af­ter a hear­ing on Thurs­day, Com­mon­wealth Games Fed­er­a­tion (CGF) Pres­i­dent Louise Mar­tin told re­porters.

The CGF said a cleaner had alerted them to a nee­dle in a cup in the ath­letes’ bed­room and a se­cond nee­dle was later dis­cov­ered in Babu’s bag.

“The tes­ti­mony of the ath­letes ... are both un­re­li­able and eva­sive,” Mar­tin said. “They are in breach of the ‘no-nee- dles’ 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.”

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 (the of­fi­cials) 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.

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

In­dian of­fi­cials told re­porters they would be ap­peal­ing the de­ci­sion.

“They have taken ac­tion against two ath­letes, which we do not agree with at all,” they said. “The nee­dle found was re­ported by the clean­ing per­son. Our ath­letes to­tally de­nied they knew about the nee­dle.

“They (in­ves­ti­ga­tors) talked to the clean­ing per­son, they talked to the ath­lete. They be­lieved the cleaner.

“Ba­si­cally there is a lot of con­fu­sion around the whole episode.”

The of­fi­cials said Babu had ad­mit­ted the se­cond nee­dle had been found in his bag but that he had no idea how it got there.

Ath­letes must have a spe­cific med­i­cal ex­emp­tion to have nee­dles at the Games. – Reuters

WESSEL OOSTHUIZEN/SASPA

GOLD RUSH: Mar­tin Eras­mus, left, pins his op­po­nent on the mat.

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