New Delhi: Badminton world number one Lee Chong Wei on Saturday denied cheating or using banned substances after he failed a doping test. The Malaysian could end up facing a two-year ban.
Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) deputy president Norza Zakaria on Saturday confirmed one of their players tested positive for the banned steroid dexamethasone. But Norza said the player could not be named pending due process, including a hearing of the Badminton World Federation (BWF).
"The result of the testing confirmed the existence of dexamethasone in the sample. We are still not at liberty to reveal the name of the player. I would like to inform you that we believe that this player is a very hard-working player and an exceptional individual," Norza said Saturday.
He confirmed the player in question had denied taking the drug on purpose but received treatment in July for a thigh injury. Lee, 32, received stem cell treatment for a thigh injury in July
But, Lee posted a message from his official account on social media site Facebook, that confirmed the widespread rumours of him being that player.
"I just want to thank every one of you who had faith in me through this difficult times. There are so many unanswered questions and I hope to clear my name soon," he wrote.
"I never cheated nor will I ever rely on banned substances."
The 32-year-old is Malaysia's most marketable athlete. Last week, he got his "B" sample tested in Oslo as the initial sample indicated presence of banned anti-inflammatory dexamethasone.
The samples had to be then taken to world championships in Denmark in August, where the Malaysian lost in the finals in the men's singles for the third time.
Under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) guidelines, a doping offence of this nature warrants a two-year ban. If Lee is handed that, he would end up missing the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.