Doping case: BAM to fight for player till the end

KUALA LUMPUR: The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) finally confirmed that one of their shuttlers had failed a dope test, but chose not to name him just yet.

After an emergency council meeting yesterday, the BAM admitted the Badminton World Fedaration (BWF) had informed them on Oct 2 that one of their shuttlers had failed the dope test after his urine sample was found with traces of the banned substance dexamethasone.

The substance is commonly used to aid an athlete’s rehabilitation process.

The BAM, however, revealed that they would name the shuttler once the result of the B sample is out. The B sample test will be carried on either Nov 4 or Nov 5 in Oslo, Norway.

Last Monday, Khairy had confirmed that one of the national athletes had failed a dope test but did not reveal the identify. Since then, speculation has been rife that world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei had failed the test after the semi-finals of the World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark, in August.

BAM president Tengku Tan Sri Mahaleel Tengku Arif said it took National Sports Institute (NSI) chief executive officer Datuk Dr Ramlan Aziz one and a half hours to explain the doping process to the council members at their meeting.

“Today’s emergency council meeting is to update the members on several issues. Dr Ramlan spoke about the process and the medical aspects of doping,” said Tengku Mahaleel.

“We have formed a working committee, headed by deputy president Datuk Norza Zakaria, to provide assistance and support to the player. Norza will work closely together with Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin. No one is guilty until proven,” he added.

Tengku Mahaleel, however, chose not to answer any questions and walked out of the press conference. But Datuk Norza assured that the BAM will be behind the athlete.

“We have been informed by the BWF that one of our athletes has been tested positive. We will do our best to solve this problem and give this player the support that he needs,” said Norza, who is also the Kuala Lumpur Badminton Association (KLBA) president.

“We are shocked and sad to hear this earth-shattering news. As the head of the working committee, I will do my best to assist the Sports Minister on how to solve this issue. We are keeping our fingers crossed that we will come to a positive conclusion.

“It is part of our responsibility to give him the proper support. At least, he deserves that from us and from the country. He is part of the family and we will fight to the very end.”

To date, the only Malaysian shuttler to have tested positive was women’s doubles player Lee Siew May at the 1995 Chiang Mai SEA Games. Siew May, who was 17 then, was tested positive for pseudo-ephedrine and was banned for two years.

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