BAM focusing on shuttler’s defence

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PETALING JAYA: The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) has refused to address allegations by former world doubles champ Razif Sidek that it was complicit in World No 1 Datuk Lee Chong Wei’s alleged involvement with performance enhancements.

BAM deputy president Datuk Norza Zakaria said BAM is “not interested” in what Razif has to say as the national body is working around the clock to prepare the paperwork to be used in the player’s defence when he faces the Badminton World Federation

(BWF)’s doping hearing panel.

On Monday, a Malay-language daily quoted allegations by Razif that Chong Wei had been taking banned substances for a long time but BAM officials had closed an eye to this because he is a two-time Olympic silver medallist and the nation’s best hope for Olympic gold.

Norza said the association’s priority now is to defend and clear the name of Chong Wei, saying the management is collecting evidence to exonerate him.

The date for the hearing has yet to be announced.

“We are focusing on the hearing and nothing else. Chong Wei is our priority now and we are doing everything we can to defend the player,” said Norza.

Chong Wei, 32, was provisionally suspended by the BWF on Tuesday after his B-sample tested positive for the banned substance dexamethasone in Oslo, Norway.

It is believed that Chong Wei had the banned substance in his system during the World Championships in Denmark in August where he lost to China’s Chen Long in the final.

The three-time All-England champion is not allowed to participate in any tournament but is allowed to train with the national team at the Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur.

“He is allowed to do his routine training, and he has been training every day since the results of the B-sample returned.

“We will get the best lawyer to defend Chong Wei,” said Norza.

If his appeal fails, Chong Wei would be suspended for two years, which would dash his hopes to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

He would also need to return the silver medal he won at the World Championships in Denmark and the bronze medals he won at the recently concluded Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.

As he was driving away from the Juara Stadium yesterday, Chong Wei  wound down his window to give a thumbs up, saying “I’m okay”.

Chong Wei said he is considering legal action against Razif for his allegations which include Chong Wei hiring a foreign doctor to administer drugs.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on November 13, 2014.