KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – Malaysia’s badminton world number one Lee Chong Wei, who is reported to have failed an initial doping test, will travel to Norway on Sunday for follow-up testing, media said Wednesday.
Malaysian sports officials have confirmed that one of the nation’s shuttlers failed a recent doping test but have declined to identify the athlete pending the test next week on a second urine sample.
But Malaysian media have widely reported that Lee – the country’s top sporting star – was found to have traces of the banned anti-inflammatory drug dexamethasone in his system during the world championships in Denmark in late August.
The state-linked New Straits Times said Lee has made plans to fly to Norway with a top Malaysian sports official for tests at an Oslo laboratory on a second sample provided during the tournament.
The Star newspaper said the test was set for November 5. It quoted Norza Zakaria, deputy president of the Badminton Association of Malaysia.
Norza could not immediately be reached and other officials declined comment.
Malaysian authorities were informed of the failed test on October 1 and have said they are investigating, including whether the drug was inadvertently taken as part of medical treatment.
Lee, 32, has struggled with a thigh injury, for which he received stem cell injections in July.
Lee has dominated the world rankings for years, but has notably failed to win a world championship or Olympic gold medal.
In Denmark he lost in the final to China’s Chen Long. In the Asian Games in South Korea in September, he was beaten in the semis by his long-time arch-rival Lin Dan of China.
Lee withdrew from subsequent tournaments, citing fatigue.
Malaysia this week announced that Morten Frost, a four-time former All-England champion, has been hired as a national technical director starting next March to guide Malaysian badminton in a post-Lee future.
Badminton is Malaysia’s national sport, but officials are anxious at the lack of anyone of Lee’s stature to carry the torch forward.