November 9, 2014 / 1:27 AM / in 3 years

World No. 1 Lee denies cheating, hopes to clear name

(Reuters) - Badminton world number one Lee Chong Wei has denied cheating or relying on banned substances despite failing a doping test that could lead to a two-year ban.

Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei returns a shot by China's Chen Long during their men's singles semi-finals badminton match at the Gyeyang Gymnasium during the 17th Asian Games in Incheon September 22, 2014. REUTERS/Olivia Harris

The Badminton Association of Malaysia confirmed on Saturday that one of their players had tested positive for the banned steroid dexamethasone but withheld the individual’s identity.

However, the 32-year-old Lee posted messages on his official Twitter and Facebook accounts thanking fans for their support and denying using drugs to gain an advantage.

“I just want to thank every one of you who had faith in me through this difficult times. There are so many unanswered questions and I hope to clear my name soon,” he wrote.

“I never cheated nor will I ever rely on banned substances.”

Lee also posted a link to an interview with a Malaysian sports blogger entitled “My story by Lee Chong Wei”, in which he spoke of his devastation at the positive test.

Malaysia’s best-known sportsman, Lee traveled to Oslo last week to have his “B” sample tested after the initial sample showed signs of the steroid, which is used to treat inflammatory conditions.

The samples were taken at the world championships in Denmark in August, where Lee finished runner-up in the men’s singles for the third time.

Under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code a first doping offense carries a two-year ban, which would rule him out of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Lee said in April he intended to play on until the 2016 Games in the hope he would finally win a gold medal to go with the silvers from Beijing in 2008 and London four years later.

He is now also likely to at the very least lose the silver medal he won at this year’s world championships.

Writing by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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