AMSTERDAM: The time has come for national badminton ace Lee Chong Wei to know his fate.
He will know whether he will get off scot-free, handed a light sentence or face the full brunt of the law after being tested positive for a banned substance on Saturday.
Chong Wei was tested positive for dexamethasone during the World Championships in Copenhagen last August.
The former world No. 1, who faces the possibility of being handed a two-year ban for the doping violation, is hoping to convince the three-man panel of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) of his innocence.
The 32-year-old Chong Wei will seek to clear his name during the hearing, which is scheduled to be held from 10am-6pm local time (5pm Saturday until 1am Sunday Malaysian time).
“All I want is to play badminton again ... and wake up from this nightmare,” Chong Wei said of the sport that he has been involved in for the last 15 years and for whom the last seven months have been agonising.
Should there be good news, it would come on the eve of his son Kingston’s second birthday celebration.
If he is let off the hook, world No. 16 Chong Wei is set play immediately in the Sudirman Cup from May 10-17 at Dongguan, China.
He can also look forward to resuming his rivalry with Lin Dan of China right up to the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games next year.
Whatever the outcome – good or bad – there is a lesson to be learnt.
Athletes must take doping tests seriously and be more aware of what they can and cannot consume.
If this can happen to Chong Wei, who gets the best attention as a top player, it can happen to anyone.
It has been a painful lesson for the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) as well.
Chong Wei’s absence has exposed their over-reliance on one player.
In the recent Malaysian and Singapore Opens, Malaysian badminton suffered embarrassing results – with the bulk of their players crashing out in the early rounds.
Even if Chong Wei comes back, BAM should continue to focus more on their youngsters – so that more Chong Weis can be groomed.