Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian officials on Saturday said an unnamed badminton player widely believed to be world number one Lee Chong Wei had failed a drugs test — but leapt to his defence, saying he would never take "shortcuts" to boost his career.
Lee Chong Wei
Reports of a failed drugs test by the long-time top player with a reputation for humility and diligence have shocked followers of what is one of Asia's most popular sports.
"I want to stress this is not a performance enhancing drug. It shouldn't affect (the public's) perception of badminton. This is not (sprinter) Ben Johnson or (cyclist) Lance Armstrong," sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin was quoted by The Star as saying.
His aide confirmed the comments. Norza Zakaria, deputy president of the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM), told a press conference that a player had been temporarily suspended after his B-sample tested positive for the banned anti-inflammatory dexamethasone.
Lee reportedly flew to Norway to witness a second test this week at a laboratory there, following a positive result in an initial test in late August.
Norza said the player could not be named citing due process, with the Badminton World Federation set to hold a hearing. Lee, who has been widely named by Malaysian media, faces a suspension of up to two years over the doping offence.
"We believe that this player is a very hard-working player and an exceptional individual," Norza said.