Two Indian Athletes Banned from Commonwealth Games – April 13, 2018

Irfan Thodi and Rakesh Babu were banned from the Games

Rakesh Babu during the men’s Triple Jump qualification at the Commonwealth Games

In an embarrassing incident for India, two of its athletes were found to have violated the no-needles policy at the Commonwealth Games. Accordingly, both athletes have been banned from the games with immediate effect and the duo is expected to return to India shortly. This is the second incident at these Games where the Indian contingent has fallen foul of the no-needles policy.

Irfan Kolothum Thodi, a race walker, and Rakesh Babu, a triple jumper, were found guilty and banned after a hearing by the Commonwealth Games Federation on Thursday. Three Indian officials had also attended the hearing. These three officials were also reprimanded by the CGF.

CGF President Louise Martin announced, “The testimony of the athletes … are both unreliable and evasive. Rakesh Babu and Irfan Kolothum Thodi are in breach of the ‘no-needles’ policy. The accreditation of Rakesh and Irfan was suspended with effect from 9 AM on April 13. Both athletes were removed from the village.”

An Athletics Federation of India official reported that a cleaning lady had discovered a needle in a cup kept on a table in the middle of the room in which the two athletes were staying. Following this a syringe was found in the bag of Rakesh Babu during a search. The official reported, “Both athletes said they don’t know anything about the needle that was found in the cup. Though Rakesh admitted that the bag was his property, he denied any knowledge of the syringe that was found in his bag.”

The two athletes have reportedly left the Games village. They are currently staying at a friend’s place in Australia and are awaiting tickets to return to India. The tickets are being arranged by the Indian Olympic Association. Prior to this incident, Indian boxers were also reprimanded for a similar breach of the no-needles policy.

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