The Indian contingent finds itself in hot water after Australian anti-doping officials found syringes outside the rooms of senior boxers in Gold Coast on Saturday, according to a report in the Indian Express.
The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency (ASADA) and the local police conducted a raid of the rooms, and found the needles in a crushed bottle, dumped in a bin placed outside the rooms, after housekeeping staff had tipped them off.
The team doctor relented eventually, agreeing that there had been use of a syringe, after the boxers had denied the allegations initially.
However, India team manager, Ajay Narang, denied the needles were anything to do with them, saying they were found inside a water bottle on a path outside.
“One of my guys reported that to us. I had a look and could see these were syringes,” Narang told AFP.
“As a good citizen, I immediately went to the Medical Commission office for analysis and disposal. We didn’t open the bottle at all.”
While the syringe will now be tested, a spokesperson for the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) stated that the breach of the Games’ ‘no-needle policy’ could fetch sanctions even if the tests did not yield positive results.
“ASADA investigators collected evidence and took statements from medical and athlete representatives of a Commonwealth Games Association (CGA). The CGF Medical Commission will be progressing discussions with the CGA and medical staff regarding a possible breach of the CGF Needle Policy. If analytical evidence indicates further follow up, the CGF Medical Commission will follow procedures as set out in the Anti-Doping Standard,” said Ben Nichols, a spokesperson for the CGF.
All 12 members of the team, eight men and four women included, were subsequently dope tested and the Gold Coast Organising Committee launched an investigation, the Indian Express reported.
Indian officials refused to say much, but one of them speaking anonymously to Indian Express, stated, “Following the raid and seizure of the syringe, all Indian boxers were taken for dope tests on Saturday. The results are expected in a day or two and depending on that, the organisers will decide if any disciplinary action is warranted.”
The test results, which are expected to be released before the opening ceremony, could prove disastrous to the boxers, if they are found guilty. The pugilists could be in line for heavy sanctions, including disbarment from the Games.
“Failure to respect this CGF No Needle Policy… may expose the Athlete(s), the entourage of the Athlete(s), the CGA and members of its delegation as well as the Person(s) having administered the injection to disciplinary action, additional Testing and sanctions, as determined by the CGF Medical Commission,” the CGF’s ‘no-needle policy’ states.
(With inputs from AFP)