Sport Other Sports Cleaner discovers cache of syringes at Commonwealth Games village

Cleaner discovers cache of syringes at Commonwealth Games village

Commonwealth Games athletes village
The syringes were found by a cleaner at Gold Coast Commonwealth Games village. Photo: AAP
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Commonwealth Games bosses have promised that cheaters will be caught as they continue to investigate the discovery of needles at Gold Coast’s athletes’ village.

The Commonwealth Games Federation launched the investigation after syringes were located by a cleaner at the village.

CGF chief executive David Grevemberg said on Saturday that needles had been found by a cleaner and the matter was now under investigation.

Mr Grevemberg said he couldn’t confirm where or when the needles were discovered, but the Indian team has revealed it was found near their accommodation.

“The CGF medical commission responded to a report from a cleaner of the presence of needles in the athletes’ accommodation,” he said.

Mr Grevemberg said he couldn’t add more about the discovery, but reiterated the CGF’s zero-tolerance approach to doping.

Any athlete proven to have taken a banned substance would be thrown out of the Games.

“ASADA investigators have collected evidence and took statements from medical and athlete representatives of the CGA (Commonwealth Games association) and the CGF medical commission will be progressing discussions with the concerned CGA and their medical staff regarding a possible breach,” he said.

“We are absolutely committed to the fight against doping in sport and these Games will certainly do its bit.”

India’s chef de mission didn’t return calls on Sunday but the Press Trust of India quoted an unnamed Indian official denying their athletes had done anything untoward.

“The syringes were not found in Indian athletes’ rooms,” the official said.

“It’s in the same building where athletes from many countries are residing. It does not belong to us.”

India’s team manager Ajay Narang later said a bottle containing syringes had been found on an outside pathway and he had personally delivered it to authorities.

“One of my guys reported that to us. I had a look and could see these were syringes,” he told Agence France-Presse.

“As a good citizen, I immediately went to the Medical Commission office for analysis and disposal. We didn’t open the bottle at all.”

Under CGF rules there is a strict “no-needles” policy in the athletes’ village during the competition with the exception of approved medical practitioners or those with an “auto-injecting” condition such as diabetes.

Chika Amalaha
Chika Amalaha won gold in Glasgow but was later stripped of her medal after failing a doping test. Photo: AP

Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) chief executive Mark Peters issued a blunt warning with just three days until the Games start.

“Anyone attempting to cheat at any stage, they’re going to get caught,” Peters promised on Sunday.

Nigerian weightlifter weightlifter Chika Amalaha, 16, was stripped of her gold medal at the Glasgow Games while Botswana’s former world 400m champion, Amantle Montsho, was suspended for doping offences.

Welsh athletes Rhys Williams and Gareth Warburton were rubbed out of the 2014 event after failing pre-Games drug tests.

Indian team officials were also warned about the use of needles and their correct disposal after syringes were found where their wrestlers and a para-athlete was staying in Glasgow.

Australian swimmer Mack Horton, who caused a sensation at the 2016 Rio Olympics by slamming China’s seven-time world champion Sun Yang, said if any athletes are caught cheating they deserved punishment.

“Athletes know what they are doing and know they are responsible for what goes into their bodies,” Horton said.

“If they are caught cheating it is completely their fault.”

GOLDOC chairman Peter Beattie said the discovery of the syringes wasn’t a blow to the event’s reputation.

“The only time you lose your reputation is if you don’t do anything about it, you cover it up and none of that’s going to happen,” Beattie said.

Grevemberg said reports Indian athletes had been placed on a curfew was news to him and as far as he was aware the curfew hadn’t been imposed by the CGF.