Lee eyes Olympics as dope hearing looms
MALAYSIAN badminton ace Lee Chong Wei is hoping that he will be able to compete in the 2016 Olympic Games, a report said yesterday, following an announcement that his long-awaited doping case will be heard next month.
"Hopefully it will be over soon...I am waiting for positive news. The Olympic qualifying period starts on May 1 and I hope to be cleared by then," he was quoted as saying by The Star newspaper.
The Badminton Association of Malaysia said on Tuesday that Lee's hearing will be on April 11 in Amsterdam, where the player's lawyer will submit documents to a three-man Badminton World Federation (BWF) panel.
Lee won his second Olympic silver medal at the London Games in 2012 after another tough battle with his nemesis, Lin Dan of China.
Lee, who is among Malaysia's most popular sports stars, is hoping to resume his rivalry with Chinese duo Lin and Chen Long, Sunday's winner of the All England Open, as he bids to win Malaysia's first Olympic gold medal.
Lee had previously voiced fears that he would never realise his dream of becoming world and Olympic champion.
Despite topping the rankings for years and reaching five world and Olympic finals, the father-of-one has never been able to win either of badminton's two major titles.
Lee was suspended from competition after being informed by BWF in October that he had failed a drug test at last year's World Championships. He faces a maximum two-year ban if found guilty.
Lee described his suspension as heartbreaking.
"The last five months have been difficult. I am still struggling to come to terms with the fact that I've failed a dope test. The wait (for the hearing) has been a mental anguish," he said.
Lee tested positive for the banned anti-inflammatory drug dexamethasone at the World Championships in August in Copenhagen, where he lost to Chen in the final.
Lee, 32, who claims he received dexamethasone during stem-cell treatment for a thigh injury in July, has stated that he will retire if he is banned for two years.
Lee has fallen to third in the world rankings since his suspension, while Chen has risen to No. 1.