LEE Chong Wei – who returned from a doping ban to win a third Olympic badminton silver medal – has told any local offenders to “stay strong” amid reports a Malaysian SEA Games champion failed a drugs test.
National news agency Bernama reported this week that the unnamed female diver – a gold medallist in Kuala Lumpur in August – tested positive for a banned weight-loss drug.
Seven different Malaysian female divers won gold medals during the home Games, in which their country landed its best-ever haul of 145 golds.
The athlete, one of three who returned positive tests at the Games, is understood to have asked to be present when her B sample is tested.
She faces the prospect of losing her medal and receiving a four-year ban should the second test for sibutramine also return a positive result.
Malaysia’s National Sports Council (NSC) was confident no local athlete would fail a drugs test at the Games – but Lee has offered advice to the athlete in question.
The former world No 1 was stripped of his silver medal and given an eight-month ban after testing positive at the 2014 World Championships.
He showed it is possible to overcome such a blight on one’s career, though, returning to win a third Olympic silver medal in Rio, as well as gold and bronze at the 2016 and 2017 Asian Championships, respectively.
“Failing a dope test is really tough on an athlete. I know because I went through it,” Lee told The Star.
“It’s also difficult for an athlete because every year there are new substances added to the banned list. The best the athletes can do is to stay strong and put their trust in the National Sports Institute (NSI) to help them.”
Lee, who tested positive for the anti-inflammatory corticosteroid dexamethasone, added: “We need to be extra careful especially with what we eat and the nutrients we take. That’s why it is best that all nutrients are vetted by the NSI.”
The positive result came as a surprise to Anti-Doping Agency of Malaysia (Adamas) unit head S. Nishel Kumar.
“Together with the NSC, we have conducted tests, seminars and so much more for all the athletes involved in the SEA Games since October last year,” he told the New Straits Times.
“We conducted our tests in batches. The said athlete could have consumed the banned substance after [initially] testing negative.”