Badminton: Ratchanok cleared of doping allegations, free to compete in Rio

Ratchanok Intanon, the world No. 4, was found innocent of the doping charges by the Badminton World Federation at a weekend meeting.
Ratchanok Intanon, the world No. 4, was found innocent of the doping charges by the Badminton World Federation at a weekend meeting.PHOTO: AFP

Bangkok - Thailand's badminton star and Olympic gold medal hope Ratchanok Intanon has been cleared of doping allegations and will represent the kingdom at the Rio Games next month.

The badminton world No.4 was found innocent by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) during a weekend meeting in Kuala Lumpur, the Bangkok Post reported on Monday (July 18).

The BWF said in a statement: "A BWF Doping Hearing Panel has cleared Ratchanok Intanon of any anti-doping rule violation and the BWF has lifted her provisional suspension, imposed four days ago - allowing her to participate in competitions with immediate effect.

"This decision was made after an expedited hearing on July 16 to determine whether the Thai player had committed an anti-doping rule violation following an Adverse Analytical Finding of a urine sample which (Ratchanok) gave on May 15 at the BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals in Kunshan, China."

In a press conference at a Bangkok hotel, the 21-year-old broke down and cried as she recounted the saga to the media. She also showed a letter from the BWF that cleared her name.

"It is my dream to compete at the Olympic. I thank all the team that helped me to go," Ratchanok said.

"I was always confident of my innocence. I didn't do anything wrong."

She added that the BWF stopped her from training after it began its doping investigation on July 10.

The saga stemmed from the presence of triamcinolone acetonide, which is a synthetic form of cortisone used to treat skin problems and discomforts, in Ratchanok's urine sample. It is typically injected, applied as a cream or, if it is a facial problem, inhaled.

The substance is prohibited when injected during competition. But Ratchanok's medical team told the BWF that the substance was administered out of competition on May 13 and was part of an ongoing medical treatment. The BWF was satisfied with the explanation and cleared the shuttler to compete in Rio.