There’s a slight hope yet for Chong Wei

National badminton player Lee Chong Wei speaking to family members prior to departure at KLIA on Monday. - ROHAIZAT MD DARUS/ The STAR

KUALA LUMPUR: It may not be all doom and gloom for world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei.

There is a possibility he may just get a slap on the wrist for failing a dope test at the World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The 32-year-old Chong Wei is anxiously waiting in Oslo, Norway, for his B sample to be tested on Wednesday. He departed for the Norwegian capital on Monday. 

The Malaysian top badminton player had tested positive for dexamethasone during the Copenhagen meet, in August.

Although the possibility of sample A to be different from sample B is quite rare, he will be cleared of the offence if the sample B turns out to be negative.

But even if the B result remained positive, Chong Wei should have a good case to argue because dexamethasone is not a performance-enhancing drug but a type of steroid medication with anti-inflammatory effects that is usually used to aid an athlete’s rehabilitation.

Under the Badminton World Federation (BWF)’s Anti-Doping Regulations, clause 10:4, it is stated that an athlete can plead for total elimination of a two-year ban if he or she can prove that the banned substance was administered during his or her rehabilitation.

It is stated that “where a player or other person can establish how a specified substance entered his or her body or came into his or her possession and that such specified substance was not intended to enhance the sport performance or mask the use of a performance-enhancing substance, the period of ineligibility found in 10.2 shall be replaced with the following.”

“At a minimum, a reprimand and no period of ineligibility from future events, and at a maximum, two (2) year’s ineligibility.

A source explained that there is a possibility for Chong Wei to be left off the hook with only a warning if he or a medical expert could explain how the substance was administered into his body during his rehabilitation during a hearing.

If the sample B is positive, BWF will conduct a hearing for the athlete at a date to be fixed soon.

A three-member panel will be appointed by the world body to give the athlete a platform for mitigation before pronouncing a verdict – and Chong Wei will surely be out to defend himself to get off with the minimum sentence.

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