KUALA LUMPUR: It could be a tad too late for Lee Chong Wei to play in this year’s World Championships in Indonesia from Aug 10-16 – even if he’s cleared of a doping offence.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) will hear Chong Wei’s doping case on April 11 in Amsterdam.
The 32-year-old Chong Wei was tested positive for the banned substance dexamethasone during the World Championships in Copenhagen last August. The shuttler may be hit with a two-year ban or escape with a lighter sentence if he can convince the three-member panel of his innocence.
Even if world No. 8 Chong Wei is cleared on April 11, it will still be quite difficult for him to make the cut for the world meet.
The BWF will release the first batch of qualifiers for the world meet on May 1 – based on the April 30 world rankings.
Unfortunately, Chong Wei’s world ranking is expected to tumble further down by then – maybe even out of the top-40 bracket.
He is set to lose more ranking points because he will not defend his titles at the Indian Open, which begins on Wednesday, and the Malaysian Open, from March 31-April 5.
A country can have a maximum of four players in the world meet if all of them are in the top-eight bracket or they can have a maximum of three if all of them are in the top 24.
It is likely that Malaysia will only be able to have a maximum of two. A country is allowed to have a maximum of two if all of them are ranked in the top 150.
By the end of April, several players like Chong Wei Feng, Zulfadli Zulkifli and Mohd Arif Abdul Latif are expected to be ranked higher than Chong Wei, who has not competed in any international tournament since the Asian Games in Incheon in September.
There is one way, though, for Chong Wei to make his ninth appearance in the world meet – a BWF wild card.
The BWF have set a precedence. In 2013, BWF offered a wild card to China’s Lin Dan although the two-time Olympic Games champion did not qualify on merit. He went on to beat Chong Wei in the final for his fifth world title.