Banned Lee hopeful of Olympic spot after getting hearing

Wed Mar 11, 2015 3:42am EDT
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KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Former badminton world number one Lee Chong Wei is hoping to be back on court for the start of the 2016 Olympic qualifiers in May after finally being given an April date for a hearing into his failed dope test.

The Malaysian was provisionally suspended last year by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) after traces of the banned anti-inflammatory drug dexamethasone were found in his system during the world championships in Denmark.

Lee's case will be heard by a three-member panel in Amsterdam on April 11 with Malaysia's leading sportsman facing a two-year ban if found guilty.

That would all but end an impressive career, which includes 55 titles and two Olympic silver medals, but the 32-year-old was confident of being cleared and returning to the courts soon.

"The last five months have been difficult. I've been down with injuries in my career before but I'm still struggling to come to terms with the fact that I've failed a dope test," Lee was quoted as saying by Malaysian media on Wednesday.

"The wait has been a mental anguish. It was supposed to be in December but was moved. Since then, it has just been a case of waiting and waiting.

"Hopefully, it'll be all over soon. I'm waiting for positive news. The Olympic qualifying period starts on May 1 and I hope to be cleared by then."

(Writing by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei looks on during a news conference in Bangkok November 21, 2014. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha/Files