Written by Lahiru Fernando
27 Apr, 2015 | 6:33 pm
Malaysia’s favorite badminton star and former world number one, Lee Chong Wei, was left a relieved man on Monday following the handing of a backdated eight month ban for using “Dexamethasone”, an anti-inflammatory, a substance which is banned by the Badminton World Federation. The backdated eight month ban means that the former world number one will be able to take part in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Lee Chong Wei’s test results came out as positive for the use of Dexamethasone during last year’s world championships. Even though Dexamethasone does not enhance performance, it is on the list of banned substances.
Lee, who has won 55 titles, at one point faced a two-year suspense but will be able to compete again on Friday after he voluntarily stood down last year after he was first told of the test results. The former world #1 as not played since losing last year’s World Championship final and witnessed his world rankings tumble all the way to 30th in the world
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) issued a statement saying that the panel, which consists of three members, is convinced this is not a case of doping with intent to cheat and further added that Lee had been negligent but the backdated sanction was “correct and fair”.
The BWF said that the banned anti-inflammatory drug, Dexamethasone, was found on the casing of gelatin capsules of a food supplement that Lee was taking.
Speaking at a news conference in Kuala Lumpur, Lee Chong Wei said that he is “relieved” with the backdated sanction and added that he will review back and might even be mentally stronger in the competitions to come.
The lengthy absence from the court which also led to his ranking tumbling down to 30th in the world could drop even further as his world championship final defeat to China’s Chen Long has been disqualified by the BWF and the silver medal has been rescinded.
Lee was allowed to keep the two Asian Games bronze medals he won in Incheon, South Korea, in September as he was not aware of his failed test during the time.
Lee will be free to take part in the May 10-17 Sudirman Cup, one of the first events with qualifying points for the Rio Games as the qualifying campaign for Rio begins on the 4th of May.
The former world #1 is also likely to take part in the Southeast Asian Games in June, prior to the World Championship in Jakarta in August.
Despite the unfortunate turn of events Lee has faced, he has remained as Malaysia’s favorite as he was nominated last week for the country’s 2014 sportsman of the year award.
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