Over the weekend, it was confirmed that world no. 1 Lee Chong Wei‘s B sample tested positive for banned substance dexamethasone. Dexamethasone, an anti-inflammatory drug, is a substance commonly used to aid an athlete’s rehabilitation process. Needless to say, the news shook the nation as Chong Wei has always been viewed as our hardworking national hero as well as an international badminton champ. For fans, the weekend sped past in a blur as it dawned upon them the kind of implications that it would have on the top shuttler.
Malaysia’s Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin stressed that the positive dope test was not akin to that of Ben Johnson (an Olympic sprinter who was found to be using steroids) or Lance Armstrong (cyclist who was found to have used EPO, steroids, and blood transfusions to boost his performances) as dexamethasone was a medical steroid used to aid athletes’ rehabilitation after injuries.
And now, The Star Online reports that he has finally broken his silence, saying that he is not a cheat and the past month has been beyond unbearable for him.
He revealed, “On Oct 2, I received a letter that I had failed a dope test after coming back from the Asian Games in Incheon. I was shocked. I have played badminton for so long and to experience this for the first time was very difficult.”
The 32-year-old was first tested positive for dexamethasone during a doping test at the World Championships in Copenhagen on 30th Aug. The B sample of his urine also turned out to be positive. Stressing that he was not a cheat, he said:
I do not use drugs to enhance my performance. Maintaining a good name in the international stage is more important to me. I have worked hard all my life and I do not take shortcuts. I have been a World No.1 player for so long and have gone through over 100 doping tests. I know the danger of drugs. I do not even drink when I go out with friends – to be very sure of what I consume. I am careful. I strongly believe that this is not my fault.
One cannot even buy this banned substance from the counter at any pharmacy. It has to be prescribed by a doctor. That is why when I was asked whether I wanted to open up sample B, I did not hesitate at all.
He also confessed it has indeed been a trying time for him emotionally.
“My wife knows how affected I was. I was hoping that it was all just a bad dream. I was so stressed that I had to leave the country at one point. Sports Minister (Khairy Jamaluddin) and BAM officials have been very supportive. They have guided me through the difficult time and given me wise counselling,” he said.
Chong Wei said he was appreciative of the many people standing by him. “I will not forget the encouraging words of my fans – here in Malaysia and abroad. I have received many comforting text messages. I want to thank each of them,” he added.
He has since updated his official Facebook page to thank his fans for having faith in him through this difficult time. He also included a link to an exclusive interview that he has recently done with his long time friend and Malaysian sports blogger, Satwant Singh Dhaliwal:
Stay strong, Chong Wei! This doesn’t change the fact that you’re our national hero. We’re right behind you.
Don’t forget, if you’d like to tweet your support for our Malaysian champ, you may do so via Twitter here.