Indian athletes in Gold Coast, Australia could face surprise targeted dope tests in the coming days after syringes and needles were found in their rooms at the Commonwealth Games village.
Local officials in Gold Coast found the syringes in the rooms of the members of the Indian contingent. However, it is yet to ascertain if they were found by housekeeping staff or during surprise checks by officials, according to The Times of India.
Commonwealth Games had introduced "no-needle policy" during the Glasgow edition of the quadrennial multi-sport event in 2014 after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved it to curb the incidence of doping in 2011.
Only clinically-justified cases where needles are used for the treatment of injuries or illness and for the treatment of established medical conditions are allowed.
"The syringes were found from some team members' rooms. This could mean that the Indian athletes across disciplines could be asked to undergo surprise targeted dope tests even in the run-up to the Games during the next few days," sources were quoted as saying by the newspaper report.
International Business Times, India tried to contact the Indian Olympic Association but was unable to independently verify the findings.
Indian athletes repeat offenders
Notably, this is not the first time that syringes were found in rooms used by the Indian contingent. At the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, syringes were spotted by housekeeping staff in longue and rooms of Indian para-athletes and wrestlers.
While the Indian athletes were let off with warnings after they were given clean chits, Indian officials were brought before Commonwealth Medical Commission, who warned them about the usage of syringes and correct ways of disposal.
No Indian athlete tested positive for any banned substance in Glasgow as the Asian nation finished fifth on the table with 64 medals, including 15 Golds.
However, the recent findings come as an embarrassment for the Indian contingent as athletes seem to have once again failed to take responsibility for proper usage and disposal of syringes. Needles and syringes were also found in the Indian athletes' rooms during Rio Olympic Games in 2016.
Notably, Indian's Chef de Mission at Glasgow 2014, Raj Singh, had rued the lack of proper vigilance from the officials' side following the warnings from the medical commission.
Indian Olympic Association sources react to latest findings
Meanwhile, IOA sources have maintained that they had informed the athletes about "dos and don'ts" with regards to anti-doping rule violations ahead of their departure to Gold Coast. However, the sources said the latest findings do not come as surprise for them.
"At the 2014 Games, India even got an official warning from the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) for inappropriate disposal of needles by the athletes. Two years later at the Rio Olympics, syringes were again found from the players' rooms," IOA sources said.
"During the pre-departure briefing for Gold Coast, we had told all the athletes very clearly about the dos and don'ts relating to anti-doping rule violations.
"If there is a need for a genuine use of a syringe, they have to take permission, otherwise they will be in trouble."
225 athletes from the country are set to participate in the 21st edition of Commonwealth Games, starting April 4. However, not all of them have reached Gold Coast due to various reasons, including delay in securing Australian visas.