Indian team tested after syringes found in village
URGENT lab tests were being conducted on syringes linked to India's Commonwealth Games team to determine if they have been brazenly doping in the athletes' village.
Games chiefs vowed to show no mercy on cheats after a cleaner discovered the syringes in the village area where Indian athletes are staying.
But the Indian team manager gave a different version of events - claiming the needles were found by an athlete in a water bottle on a nearby path and he handed them in "as a good citizen".
Reports initially linked the controversy to the country's cyclists but Indian media declared that 12 boxers had been taken away for drugs testing.
Officials on Sunday declared there would be "zero tolerance" on cheating as they waited for a report from the medical clinician on the contents of the syringes.
The scandal, which rocked the Games ahead of Wednesday's opening ceremony, has exposed flaws in the airport-style checks on athletes and officials entering the village.
The Commonwealth Games Federation's anti-doping policy includes a ban on syringes inside the village unless the athlete has an exemption - approved by a medical practitioner - for conditions such as diabetes.
Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive David Grevemberg was tight-lipped about the investigation, but said it was being fast-tracked.
"Right now it's allegations," he said. "And what we're doing is waiting until we have all the facts before we really come out with any definitive position or decision.
"There is absolutely zero tolerance for doping ... so if you are cheating and you're found to be cheating, you will be sanctioned and there is absolutely no flexibility there."
Indian team manager Ajay Narang insisted his athletes' only involvement had been handing the syringes in to officials after finding them in a water bottle.
"One of my guys reported that to us," he said. "I had a look and could see these were syringes.
"As a good citizen, I immediately went to the Medical Commission office for analysis and disposal. We didn't open the bottle at all."
An unnamed Indian official told the media a team doctor had admitted to having the needle but denied any wrongdoing.
"Following the raid and seizure of the syringe, all Indian boxers were taken for dope tests on Saturday," the official said.
"The results are expected in a day or two and depending on that, the organisers will decide if any disciplinary action is warranted."
The Times of India also quoted an unnamed official, who claimed there would be no further investigation.
"It's the Indian contingent's doctors who handed over the syringes to the medical commission and they disposed of them," the Indian official said.
"They had nothing more to ask us and there was no further communication from them. It's unfair that we are being doubted. We acted in good faith."
The official said some athletes had been drug tested but claimed it had nothing to do with the discovery of syringes.
"We have tried to ensure that no drug cheat is competing," the official said. "It's a norm that randomly many athletes are tested before the Games begin. It's pre-Games testing and it has nothing to do with this incident."
Gold Coast Commonwealth Games chairman Peter Beattie said although serious, the incident would not affect the reputation of the Games.
Gold Coast Commonwealth Games CEO Mark Peters said cheaters would be caught and dealt with.
"If anyone attempts to cheat at any stage, they're going to get caught," he said.
"And that's the important thing for the integrity of Australian sport."
The scandal prompted Australian team chef de mission Steve Moneghetti to issue a message to all 472 Aussie athletes reminding them of the ban on needles.
Commonwealth Games Minister Kate Jones said there was no evidence of doping yet - but vowed "we will throw the book at anyone who is caught cheating".