KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – A Malaysian athlete, widely reported to be badminton world number one Lee Chong Wei, will find out the results of a second doping test next month after a first test came back positive, a newspaper said Saturday.
Malaysian Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said Tuesday that a national athlete had tested positive for a banned substance in an international tournament.
Authorities have refused to identify the athlete pending the second test.
But media has widely named him as the top shuttler, with Malaysians expressing shock and disbelief at the allegations Lee failed a random test after the semi-finals of the World Badminton Championships in Denmark in late August.
Lee has not commented on the claims.
Khairy was quoted by Saturday’s The Star as saying that the athlete in question had been given a choice of two dates — November 4 and 5 — for a second sample to be tested.
The athlete reportedly wants to be present at the laboratory in Oslo when the sample is opened. Results typically take four to five days.
“I have been in touch with the athlete. The athlete is anxious but that is expected,” Khairy was quoted as saying.
“We are going through the athlete’s recent medical history to see how the substance could be present.”
Khairy’s aide confirmed the report but declined to comment further.
Malaysia’s anti-doping agency was informed in an October 1 letter of the failed test.
Since then, top sports officials have been probing all the medicine and treatment the athlete has received.
Sports officials and the Badminton World Federation have declined to comment.
Malaysians have expressed shock and disbelief over the allegations against Lee, a national icon.
Despite still not having won a world or Olympic title, the player, who turned 32 this week, has consistently topped the badminton rankings.
This year he has struggled with a thigh injury, missing the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and receiving stem cell injections in July as treatment for the injury.
Media reports have said the banned substance found in the test was dexamethasone, an anti-inflammatory drug.
In Copenhagen, Lee beat Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen in the semi-final but then lost to China’s Chen Long in the final.
The doping allegations are the second involving Malaysian athletes recently.
Earlier this month, the head of the Wushu Federation of Malaysia resigned to take responsibility after Asian Games champion Tai Cheau Xuen tested positive for doping and was stripped of her gold medal.