Commonwealth Games: The ‘No Needles Policy’ that got two Indian athletes suspended

Two Indian athletes were sent packing from the Commonwealth Games after a syringe was discovered in their room.
Commonwealth Games: The ‘No Needles Policy’ that got two Indian athletes suspended
Commonwealth Games: The ‘No Needles Policy’ that got two Indian athletes suspended
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Two Indian athletes were suspended from the Commonwealth Games in Australia on Friday and were forced to return home. This after the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) ruled that the two athletes from the Indian contingent had breached the ‘No needles policy’.

The two athletes, who have been sent packing by the CGF are KT Irfan, who participated in the 20km walk and placed 13th, and V Rakesh Babu, who was scheduled to take part in the triple-jump event on Friday. The two athletes from Kerala were pulled up after a syringe was discovered in their room.

A statement by the Commonwealth Games Federation President Louise Martin reads, "Rakesh Babu and Irfan Kolothum Thodi are with immediate effect not permitted to participate in the Games. The accreditation of Rakesh Babu and Irfan Kolothum Thodi was suspended with effect from 09:00 hours on April 13, 2018. Both athletes were removed from the Games Village." 

"We have asked the Commonwealth Games Association of India to ensure both athletes depart Australia on the first flight available," read the statement.

The issue was disposed by the CGF court earlier this week but was later reviewed and a final verdict of suspension was handed to the two athletes under question along with the Chef-de-Mission of the Commonwealth Games Association of India (CGA India), Vikram Singh Sisodia; General Team Manager, Namdev Shirgaonker; Athletics Team Manager, Ravinder Chaudhry and other team managers. The CGF court found all five in breach of the policy.

What is the CGF’s ‘No Needle Policy’?

The policy put out by the CGF, states:

Needles must not be used except by medically qualified practitioners for the clinically justified treatment of injury, illness or other medical conditions (for which a valid Therapeutic Use Exemption may be required) or those requiring auto-injection on therapy for an established medical condition with a valid TUE, e.g. for insulin dependent diabetes.

Each Commonwealth Games Association must ensure:

1)      Any needles, and associated clinical materials, intended for use by members of its delegation are stored in a central secured location, access to which is restricted to authorized medical personnel of the CGA delegation. Athletes with a valid TUE for the use of insulin, and non-athletes requiring other forms of auto-injection may keep appropriate materials with them if safely stored and disposed of in accordance with point (ii) below;

2)      All used needles and associated materials (vials, syringes, and swabs) are safely disposed of in an appropriate bio-hazards container (e.g. “sharps bin”). If necessary, these may be procured from the Athlete Village Polyclinic;

3)      Whenever an Athlete receives an injection during the period of the XXI Commonwealth Games (i.e. from the date of the opening of the Athlete Village on 25 March 2018 to and including the date of the closing of the Athlete Village on 18 April 2018), the attached “Injection Declaration Form” is duly completed and forwarded to the CGF Medical Commission no later than noon the day following such injection. This applies to all injections administered to Athletes whether they occur in the Athlete Village, elsewhere in the Host Country of the Games or in another country;

4)      Injection Declaration Forms are completed legibly in English and any additional evidence attesting to the need for injection therapy (e.g. imaging, laboratory reports), are attached. The completed Injection Declaration Form may be, e-mailed to or placed in an envelope addressed to the CGF Medical Commission and place into the Injection Declaration Form box in the Main Medical Clinic Reception.

With zero tolerance for any breach of policy, the document goes on to state, “Failure to respect this CGF No Needle Policy, including failure to submit a completed Injection Declaration Form to the CGF Medical Commission, 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 Indian contingent present at the Commonwealth Games in Australia released a statement announcing that they would be appealing the suspension given by CGF. General team manager Namdev Shirgaokner said, “We don't agree with some decisions, and we will discuss with our higher authorities. We will appeal against these decisions.”

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