* It was a nightmare journey for the much loved Chong Wei after doping suspension
* To get back into ‘competitive’ badminton Chong Wei is set to play in the Sudirman Cup and the SEA Games
* ‘Maybe I will comeback stronger mentally’ – Chong Wei
It has been a long journey for former World No 1 Datuk Lee Chong Wei and Malaysia’s much loved sports icon but the nightmare is finally over when he resumes his playing career on Labour Day this year.
May 1 will be the day when the 32-year-old Penangite will be officially emancipated from the eight-month suspension handed by the three-man Badminton World Federation (BWF) Doping Hearing Panel which met in Amsterdam, Holland on April 11.
Chong Wei was present at the hearing together with Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) general manager Kenny Goh.
The verdict on the suspension was announced this afternoon by Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar at his office in Putrajaya and aired live on several TV stations.
Earlier in November, Chong Wei and Kenny Goh were also in Oslo, Norway where they witnessed a second doping test on Chong Wei’s urine and sample B turned out to be positive.
Chong Wei’s nightmare began on August 30 last year in Copenhagen where he had promised to deliver a perfect 57th Merdeka Day present for the people of Malaysia. The present never came as the Malaysian ace lost to China’s Chen Long in the final in the World Championships.
The much awaited verdict by the BWF Doping Hearing Panel came with good news for badminton fans all around the world because Chong Wei’s absence left a big vacuum on the courts, especially for his rivals, namely Lin Dan and Chen Long.
Chong Wei’s aura on the court was missing and this was evident in the recent Maybank Malaysian Open.
His eight-month suspension was backdated to Aug 30 last year – the day his urine sample was taken for doping test – which means the suspension comes to an end on April 30 (Thursday).
May 1 is also the beginning of the Olympic Qualifiers for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The BWF panel, found that it was “not a case of doping with intent to cheat” but “negligence” on Chong Wei’s part when he inadvertently ingested Dexamethasone via food supplement capsules which were contaminated with the substance.
Later at a press conference, Chong Wei, said: “I am a relieved man now. I accept the outcome (the verdict), maybe I will comeback stronger mentally.”
Chong Wei will now be eligible to compete at the 28th SEA Games in Singapore (June 5-16).
But before that Chong Wei will feature in next month’s Sudirman Cup in Dongguan (China) from May 10-17. He has also set his sights on this year’s World Championships to be held in Jakarta in August.