Badminton's world number one Lee Chong Wei has been implicated as the “top athlete” who failed a drug test during August’s World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark, according to a report on Tuesday (Oct 21) by a Malaysian daily.
Malaysia's Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said earlier in the day that an athlete from the country had tested positive for a banned substance. He declined to name the person because further tests were ongoing.
The Star reported on Tuesday that Lee was implicated to have failed a random test at the World Badminton Championships in Copenhagen in late August.
Lee was among those randomly picked for a doping test and had been notified of the failed doping test on Oct 1. He had requested for the “B” sample to be tested 16 days later, a day before the deadline to request for the test.
However, there was no mention of the date when the test results of the “B” sample would be released, the Malaysian daily said.
The Badminton World Federation declined to comment, saying its anti-doping regulations required confidentiality, while the Badminton Association of Malaysia and other sports officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
Lee, 31, is a national icon in the Southeast Asian nation and has consistently topped the badminton rankings, despite having failed to win a world or Olympic title. Malaysians took to social media to express their disbelief, and support for Lee. "There must be a reason. We have to lend him all our support Malaysian!" one user wrote on Twitter.
Khairy said in a statement he had asked top sports officials to undertake "a thorough investigation" of all the medical treatment that Lee had received.
If the results come back positive, it would mark Malaysia's second doping scandal in recent months. 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.
In Copenhagen, Lee lost to China's Chen Long in the final.