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Badminton: “No intent to cheat” – Lee Chong Wei to return in May

Lee Chong Wei (centre) announces his return to action at a press conference on Monday. Photo: AFP.

Lee Chong Wei is eligible to resume competing from May 1 following a backdated eight-month ban. Photo: AFP.

April 27, 2015: Former World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei is eligible to resume his competitive career on Friday (May 1) after he was handed a backdated eight-month sanction for an anti-doping regulation violation that will end on Thursday (April 30).

 

According to a statement by the BWF (Badminton World Federation), the sanction imposed by the BWF Doping Hearing Panel resulted from an Adverse Analytical Finding of Lee’s sample taken at the BWF World Championships in Denmark on August 30, 2014.

 

The sample contained Dexamethasone, a Specified Substance prohibited “in competition”, the source of which was a contaminated casing(s) of a gelatin capsule containing a food supplement that Lee had been taking.

 

Appearing before the BWF Doping Hearing Panel on April 11, Lee accepted Dexamethasone was present in his sample and that he had consequently committed an anti-doping violation under regulation 2.1 of the BWF Anti-Doping Regulations (2009). Lee stated that he did so inadvertently and that either no sanction should take place according to Clause 10.5.1 or at least that any sanction should be reduced according to Clause 10.4.

 

Given arguments and evidence put forward by Lee’s legal team at the hearing in the Netherlands, the panel stated: “The panel is convinced this is not a case of doping with intent to cheat.”

 

However, the panel found Lee had been “negligent”, although the degree of negligence was “rather light” as “he did not realise he had ingested a Specified Substance (Dexamethasone)”. That conclusion led to a sanction of eight months’ ineligibility.

 

The Doping Hearing Panel backdated the period of ineligibility to the date of sample collection, thereby ending his sanction on April 30 and making Lee eligible to resume his badminton career on May 1.

 

Lee’s runner-up result at last year’s BWF World Championships has been disqualified, but results subsequently obtained between August 30 and October 2 – the date Lee was notified of his positive test – will stand.

 

Lee had been provisionally suspended since last November and therefore barred temporarily from participating in any competition (Clause 7.6.2), pending the panel’s decision. World No. 1 at the time of his ban, Lee has since fallen to No. 30.

 

Source: BWF (www.bwfbadminton.org); Editing by SportAsia

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