Badminton‘s governing body confirmed Tuesday that Lee Chong Wei has been suspended “due to an apparent anti-doping regulation violation”, identifying him for the first time after weeks of reports naming the world number one.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) said the Malaysian star was barred from competing until its panel determines whether he has committed a violation, after he failed a drugs test at the BWF World Championships in August.
No date for the hearing has been given, and the BWF declined further comment.
Lee, who is Malaysia’s most prominent male athlete, has said that he “never cheated” and will fight to clear his name after a second test last week confirmed the banned anti-inflammatory dexamethasone in his sample.
If found guilty of doping, he faces a suspension of up to two years, spelling the end of his career.
In an interview with his friend and sports blogger Satwant Singh Dhaliwal published Saturday, Lee said the positive result was a “mystery”.
The 32-year-old said he received dexamethasone during stem cell treatment for a thigh injury in July but had passed an out-of-competition test before the world championships, where he lost in the final to China’s Chen Long.
“I never cheated nor will I ever rely on banned substances,” Lee said. “There are so many unanswered questions, and I hope to clear my name soon.”
The affair has shocked the sport, which has seen few doping scandals.
Malaysian officials have said they believe Lee is innocent and will do all they can to help him present his case.
Despite topping the sport’s rankings for years, Lee has never won a world title or Olympic gold, often crashing out against Chinese star Lin Dan in the finals. – Agence France-Presse