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Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018: Why Indians are in the eye of the needle

Reports have put Indian boxers in the dock after a foreign expert with the team admitted that they brought the needles into the Commonwealth Games Village to treat a boxer

other sports Updated: Apr 02, 2018 18:07 IST
B Shrikant
B Shrikant
Gold Coast
Commonwealth Games 2018,Commonwealth Games,Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018
Needles were found near India’s accommodation at the athletes’ village in Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018.(Getty Images - image only for representative purposes)

India’s campaign in Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018 got off to an ignominious start with the chef de mission Vikram Sisodia and a delegation being summoned for hearing over breach of Commonwealth Games Federation’s (CGF) ‘no needle policy’.

Though the CGF has still not officially named any country, reports have put Indian boxers in the dock after a foreign expert with the boxing team admitted that they brought the needles into the Village to treat a boxer.

The controversy has been raging since syringes were discovered by a member of the Village cleaning staff on Saturday. The Indians have denied any wrongdoing but have been forced to defend their action since the needles were found near their accommodation.

“The Commonwealth Games’ Federation’s Medical Commission has concluded its investigation into an alleged violation of the CGF’s No needle Policy. Their findings have been escalated to the CGF’s Federation Court which will conduct a hearing into the matter,” the CGF informed in a statement on Monday night.

The hearing will take place on Tuesday morning 10am local time and the court’s decision will be communicated after the hearing, the CGF said.

It also clarified that “this matter is not defined as an anti-doping violation but rather as an infringement of the CGF’s ‘no-needle policy,’ which has been introduced by major events organisers to ensure best medical practices.”

The allegation continued to be a cause of embarrassment for the Indian contingent on Monday even as they were officially welcomed by the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games organising committee at a function at the Games Village in the evening.

The Commonwealth Games Federation and the local organising committee officials held a meeting to resolve the matter on Monday afternoon and finally decided to hand over the matter to the Commonwealth Games Federation Court.

Santiago Nieva, the high performance director of Boxing Federation of India, admitted to the official broadcaster that they took the syringe to administer a “vitamin substance” to an ailing boxer.

“I’m confident that our boxers (have) not taken anything,” Nieva told the Seven Network. “We had one boxer who didn’t feel very well and doctor has given him an injection.”

Nieva’s admission puts in poor light both the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) officials who failed to educate athletes and support staff about the CGF’s no-needle policy and prevent their members from bringing needles into the Games Village and causing this unnecessary scandal ahead of the event.

It also raised question marks on the security apparatus at the Games Village which, despite airport style screening” allowed the Indian boxing team members to take syringes into the Village.

More pathetic were the attempts to hide the incident. Team manager Ajay Narang’s claim that they informed the officials about the needles as ‘Good Samaritan’ resulted in the entire boxing contingent being tested ahead of the games and the unnecessary controversy distracting members of the contingent.

The IOA has a lot to answer on the issue. As usual, its officials continued to avoid the media even on Monday as they did on the last couple of days.

First Published: Apr 02, 2018 17:59 IST