Former No 1 Lee Chong Wei given backdated, 8-month ban

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) Former top-ranked badminton player Lee Chong Wei has been given a backdated eight-month doping ban after testing positive in August at the world championships, allowing him to return to competition on Friday.

The Badminton World Federation announced the sanction Monday. Lee tested positive for the prohibited substance Dexamethasone on Aug. 30 and said the source was likely the contaminated casing of a gelatin capsule containing a food supplement.

Lee appeared before a BWF panel on April 11, accepting that he had committed a doping violation but saying he did so inadvertently.

Noting Dexamethasone was not a performance-enhancing substance, the BWF panel said it was ''convinced this is not a case of doping with intent to cheat.''

The panel found that Lee had been negligent, but with the degree of negligence being ''rather light'' because he did not realize he had ingested Dexamethasone. The panel said it was ''correct and fair'' to backdate the period of ineligibility to the date the sample was collected.

''These few months have been tough for me,'' Lee said. ''Maybe life is like that, up and down. It will make me mentally stronger for future competitions.''

Lee's runner-up result at the world championships in Denmark was disqualified but results obtained between Aug. 30 and Oct. 2, when he was notified of the positive test and provisionally banned, will stand.

The three-member panel said it accepted Lee's argument that his adverse analytical finding was ''most likely the result of him consuming gelatin capsules containing cordyseps and that one or more of the gelatin capsules' casings were contaminated with Dexamethasone.''

Lee, who said he has been taking the Chinese herb supplements for years but will be more careful in the future, has been training regularly and said he is looking forward to competing in the upcoming Southeast Asian Games in Singapore in June.

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