KUALA LUMPUR • Shuttler Lee Chong Wei has said no amount of money will make him betray the sport he loves after revealing yesterday that he once rejected an offer from a match-fixer.
The world No. 2 said he was approached a few years ago, without giving further details, and said he was "ashamed" two fellow Malaysian players were under investigation over alleged fixing.
"Money is not everything to me," he was cited as saying in the New Straits Times. "For me, national pride comes first and it is my responsibility to uphold it."
The 35-year-old's bombshell came after news emerged last week that two Malaysian players are being investigated by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) for suspected match-fixing.
The unnamed pair, who are reportedly due to face a BWF hearing in Singapore from Feb 26-27, could be banned for life if found guilty.
Lee, a three-time Olympic silver medallist, said the allegations had "tarnished" Malaysia's reputation.
"As a top player, I feel embarrassed and ashamed," he said.
"I hope the case comes to an end soon. I also understand that BAM will take stern action (against) those involved in it."
The two players embroiled in the scandal have been suspended, although there are no details about the allegations against them. But reports say they are a former top junior player and another who had taken part in the Thomas Cup.
BWF secretary-general Thomas Lund declined comment when asked by The Star.
Badminton has been hit by match-fixing scandals before.
At the 2012 Olympics, eight women's doubles players were disqualified for trying to lose group games to gain an easier quarter-final draw.
And in 2014, the BWF asked police to investigate claims by two Danish players, Hans-Kristian Vittinghus and Kim Astrup, that they were approached by a Malaysian bookie to throw matches during the Japan Open.
Lee is currently preparing to defend his All-England Open title in Birmingham next month.
Barring any upset, the second seed will face sixth seed Lin Dan of China in the quarter-finals, having only won 12 out of 39 matches against his rival.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, NEW STRAITS TIMES, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK