GOLD Coast: The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Friday said that it will appeal against the removal of two Indian athletes - Rakesh Babu and Irfan Kolothum Thodi - after a needle was found in a cup in their bedroom at the Athletes' Village in Australia's Gold Coast.
Addressing a press conference on the issue here, the IOA questioned the decision of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) to bar the two Indian athletes from participating in the Games.
''The incident involving KT Irfan and Rakesh Babu took place on the 9th and we were informed on the 10th. Third, Vikas Thakur - a weightlifting medalist - was also called. Thakur had packed his bag and was leaving for the airport. He was questioned and his bag was searched. He was cleared,'' The IOA officials said.
IOA also questioned why did they (CGF) ban Irfan if the syringe was found in the bag of another athlete.
The reactions from the IOA came shortly after the CGF confirmed that the two Indian athletes were being sent home from the 21st Gold Coast Commonwealth Games after a needle was found in a cup in their bedroom at the Athletes' Village.
''Triple jumper Babu, race walker Thodi and three Indian team officials had appeared before a CGF hearing on Thursday,'' its president Louise Martin told reporters.
"The testimony of the athletes ... are both unreliable and evasive," Martin told reporters.
"Rakesh Babu and Irfan Kolothum Thodi are in breach of the `no-needles` policy,'' he added.
"Babu and Thodi are with immediate effect not permitted to participate in the Games. Their accreditation was suspended and both athletes have been removed from the village. We have asked the Commonwealth Games Association of India to depart Australia on the first flights available," he said.
The three team officials - chef de mission Vikram Singh Sisodia, team manager Namdev Shirgaonker and athletics team manager Ravinder Chaudhry - were all reprimanded, Martin added.
"The CGF shall advise Vikram Singh Sisodia, Namdev Shirgaonker and Ravinder Chaudhry that any further infractions by any member of the Indian team of the 'no-needle' policy could result in the withdrawal of accreditation of the offending person," she said.
Babu was the 12th and final qualifier for the men`s triple jump final on Saturday. Thodi finished 13th in the men`s 20km race walk last Sunday. Athletes must have a specific medical exemption to have needles at the Games as part of the fight against doping.
It is the second time the Indian team has been in breach of the policy at the Gold Coast after boxing team doctor Amol Patil was strongly reprimanded last week after needles were discovered in a plastic bottle.
Patil had administered a Vitamin B complex injection to a sick boxer and left needles in the room, breaking the CGF rules regarding their proper storage.
The matter was not defined as an anti-doping rule violation, but the entire India delegation was warned by the CGF there would be repercussions if they breached the rules again.
Meanwhile, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) said that the two Indian athletes will face sanctions following a time-bound inquiry.
"They will definitely be punished by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) as well. It is an embarrassment for us. There will be an inquiry after the Games is over and it will be time-bound. The panel will be appointed after the Games," AFI Secretary C K Valson said after the CGF court stripped them of their accreditation and asked them to leave for India.
(With PTI inputs)