Badminton: Malaysian officials 'shocked' over doping claims

Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia competes against Viktor Axelsen of Denmark during their men's singles semi-final match at the Badminton World Championships in Copenhagen on Aug 30, 2014. Malaysian badminton officials expressed "shock" on Sunday in their fi
Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia competes against Viktor Axelsen of Denmark during their men's singles semi-final match at the Badminton World Championships in Copenhagen on Aug 30, 2014. Malaysian badminton officials expressed "shock" on Sunday in their first response to doping allegations following reports that world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei failed a test. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Malaysian badminton officials expressed "shock" on Sunday in their first response to doping allegations following reports that world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei failed a test.

The officials refused to identify the player, pending a second test, but local media has reported that the top shutter tested positive for a banned substance at the world championships in Denmark in late August.

"One of our athletes in one major tournament has been found positive," Badminton Association of Malaysia deputy president Norza Zakaria told reporters after officials met for more than two hours to discuss the matter.

"We are very shocked, sad, and it is an earth-shattering news to us... We are hoping, keeping our fingers crossed that things will come to a positive conclusion at the end of the day."

Norza confirmed that a second test would be conducted on Nov 4 or 5 after an initial test found the banned substance dexamethasone, an anti-inflammatory drug.

Test results are expected within "one or two days", he said. He declined to give further details.

Malaysia's sports minister had said on Tuesday that the authorities were informed in an Oct 1 letter of the failed doping test.

Local media have since reported Lee failed the random test after the championships' semi-finals. He lost in the final to China's Chen Long.

Malaysians have expressed shock and disbelief over the allegations against Lee, one of only two prominent sports personalities in the country and a national icon.

Lee, who received stem cell injections in July as treatment for a thigh injury, has not commented on the claims.

Earlier this month, badminton was already hit with allegations of match fixing by two Danish players, who said they were approached by a Malaysian man via Facebook to throw matches.

Badminton officials on Sunday condemned match-fixing, saying they would work with authorities probing the matter.

It is also not the first doping scandal facing Malaysia recently.

On Saturday, two weightlifters were reportedly banned for two years for a doping offense in a local tournament in June.

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.