Indian Boxers Cleared of Doping Charges After Needle Row at Commonwealth Games

The Commonwealth Games Federation's "no needle policy" prohibits administration of injections to participants without strong medical backing.


India’s boxers were cleared of doping violation charges at the upcoming Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast, Australia, on April 2. India, however, remains under the lens for the alleged breach of the Commonwealth Games Federation’s (CGF) strict “no needle” policy, PTI reported.

Even though no doping violation has been found involved, the CGF, without naming India, said that the Commonwealth Games Association (CGA) of the “concerned” country has been asked to appear for a hearing in the Federation Court, the organisation’s disciplinary body, on April 3.

“This matter is not defined as an anti-doping rule violation, but rather as an infringement of the CGF’s no needle policy, which has been introduced by major events organizers to ensure best medical practices,” a CGF spokesperson was  quoted as saying in reports.

The Federation’s “no needle policy” prohibits the administration of injections without strong medical backing. Only  athletes requiring prescribed medication or nutritional supplements under the supervision of a medical practitioner are exempted from the rule. Even for this, the Federation has made it clear that athletes should take prior permissions. The failure of this will result in unspecified sanctions.

According to an earlier AFP report, a cleaner at the contingent’s compound had tipped the officials off about the syringes on March 30. Indian boxing coach Santiago Nieva told Australian media that one of the boxers in the 12-member team, who was unwell, was given a vitamin supplement. The coach’s explanation about why syringes were found contradicted the version of India’s team manager Ajay Narang, who told AFP that the needles were found in water bottles outside their accommodation and had nothing to do with them.

“There has been no doping violation because the syringe had been used to inject multi-vitamins. The boxers have been tested and had there been a violation, we would have known by now,” another top official in the Indian contingent was quoted as saying by PTI. “We are now waiting for what the CGF decides.”

The gymnastics and weight lifters’ contingents of India were also tested over the weekend, the Times of India reported.

CGF CEO David Grevemberg, in a press conference held on April 2, assured that the Federation is looking into the matter, and is in talks with the concerned Games Association. He did not name India as the target of the probe.

“The report (of the medical commission) will include the testimony of the concerned CGA and that will be put forward to our federation court for further deliberation to determine the appropriate sanction,” he had said.

Games organizing committee chairman Peter Beattie also said that the matter, which was “very unhelpful” in the lead up to the opening ceremony, would be dealt with transparently and that “nothing would be covered up.”

The opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games will be held on April 4, and the sporting events will start on April 5.

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