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India’s chef-de-mission (CDM) Vikram Singh Sisodia told TOI from Gold Coast that only Irfan’s removal from the Village has been challenged by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI), which routed its appeal to the CGF through the CDM’s office. In Babu’s case, the syringe was found in his bag and India didn’t challenge the decision after seeking legal opinion.
The IOA contingent members and AFI officials have accepted the fact that the syringe indeed belonged to the triple jumper, it is understood. The application challenging revocation of Irfan’s accreditation and his subsequent ouster from the Village has been submitted to CGF president Louise Martin’s office.
India has asked the CGF to review its sanction on Irfan since the needle was found in a cup in the athletes’ bedroom, which didn’t necessarily mean that the syringe belonged to him, or was used for injecting a performance-enhancing substance.
According to Sisodia, if the CGF doesn’t overturn its decision the matter will be challenged at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). “In that case, the AFI will have to challenge at the CAS,” Sisodia said.
“We don’t see any fault with Irfan. The needle was found in Babu’s bag, so we don’t have a valid ground to challenge the decision. But nothing of that sort happened in Irfan’s case.”
The incident on April 9 came to light when a cleaner sounded off the organizers about a needle being found in Irfan’s room. The second needle was found in Babu’s bag. IOA officials were informed about it the next day and, on April 13, the CGF Court conveyed its decision to the CDM office after a formal hearing into the matter. Three team officials – Sisodia, team manager Namdev Shirgaonker and athletics team manager Ravinder Chaudhry – too had received a reprimand from the CGF.
Irfan and Babu’s campaign had ended before the CGF’s decision. While Irfan had finished 13th in the 20km race walk, Babu injured his knee during the qualifiers, which ruled him out of the finals. On the separate issue of weightlifter Vikas Thakur being asked to return from the airport by organisers for detailed questioning, Sisodia said that it happened due to “confusion”.
“After winning the bronze (in the men’s 94kg category), Thakur was dope tested before the medal ceremony. But he was also wanted for questioning by the medical commission. Thakur thought that since his dope testing had been done, he could leave with the team (on April 11) without appearing before the commission. The commission immediately called him back from the airport. He was only allowed to leave Gold Coast after satisfying the commission with his replies,” Sisodia added.