Needling Issue: IOA, NSF add to chaos, Rathore mum on 'admin's mess'
By Poonam Mehra
Gold Coast, Apr 13 (PTI) On a day when India was left red-faced at the Commonwealth Games, the country's sports administrators today ensured that the embarrassment was amplified by their confused utterances even as Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore chose to keep mum during his stadium-hopping visit to the city.
Race walker K T Irfan and triple jumper V Rakesh Babu were ordered to leave the Games on the first available flight after being found guilty of breaching the event's no needle policy by the Commonwealth Games Federation court. Their statements pleading innocence were declared evasive and unreliable by the CGF court.
The court also severely reprimanded chef-de-mission Vikram Singh Sisodia, general team manager Namdev Shirgaonkar and athletics team manager Ravinder Chaudhry for failing to ensure compliance of the 'no needle' policy.
The CGF's terse tone forced the Indian officials to hold a press conference of their own where Shirgaonkar said the decision would be appealed against, asserting that the athletes' version, especially of Irfan, on whom nothing was found, has not been heard.
What followed after that 'grand announcement' was utter confusion.
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) threatened severe action against the indicted duo with the athletics body forming a panel to investigate the matter.
"The athletes would be liable to sanction as decided by the Medical and Ethics Commissions of the IOA," said IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta in statement, contradicting the stand put up by the administrative staff at the Games village.
When contacted for his response on the IOA statement, Sisodia said he would comment later on the matter.
Amid the drama, Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore arrived in the city and kept himself busy by hopping stadiums.
He first showed up at the boxing venue at Oxenford, before taking the stands in the wrestling arena of the Carrara Stadium and finally paid a visit to the hockey stadium, where the Indian men lost to New Zealand in the semifinal.
During the entire duration, the minister did not speak on the 'needle' incident and what could possibly have been done to avoid it.
The athletes in question have been incommunicado and are expected to leave for India tonight