BAM officials 'shocked' at drug reports
MALAYSIAN badminton officials yesterday expressed "shock" in their first response to doping allegations following reports that world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei had failed a drug test.
The officials refused to identify the player, pending a second test, but local media have reported that the top shuttler tested positive for a banned substance at the World Championships in Denmark in August.
"One of our athletes in one major tournament has been found positive," Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) deputy president Norza Zakaria told reporters after officials met for more than two hours to discuss the matter. "We are very shocked, sad, and it is earth-shattering news to us... We are hoping, keeping our fingers crossed that things will come to a positive conclusion at the end of the day."
Mr Norza confirmed that a second test would be conducted on Nov 4 or 5 after an initial test found the banned substance to be dexamethasone, an anti-inflammatory drug.
Results are expected within "one or two days" after the test, he said. He declined to give further details.
Malaysia Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin had said on Tuesday that the authorities were informed in an Oct 1 letter of the failed dope test.
Local media have since reported that Lee failed the random test after the championships' semi-finals. He lost in the final to China's Chen Long.
Malaysians have expressed shock and disbelief over the allegations against the national icon.
Lee, who received stem-cell injections in July as treatment for a thigh injury, has not commented on the claims.
Earlier this month, badminton was hit with allegations of match-fixing by two Danish players, who said they were approached by a Malaysian man via Facebook to throw matches.
Badminton officials yesterday condemned match-fixing, saying they would work with the authorities probing the matter.
This is not the first doping scandal to hit Malaysia in recent weeks.
On Saturday, two weightlifters were reportedly banned for two years for a doping offence in a local tournament in June.
Earlier this month, the head of the Wushu Federation of Malaysia resigned to take responsibility after Asian Games champion Tai Cheau Xuen tested positive for drugs and was stripped of her gold medal.