Bangkok: The women’s singles World No. 5 Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand has been cleared of a doping charge from the Badminton World Federation (BWF) after it was found she accidentally ate contaminated meat at a restaurant in Thailand.
Ratchanok was tested positive for clenbuterol in an out-of-competition test in April, and was facing a four-year ban if found guilty. Fortunately, she was able to prove that she ingested meat that was contaminated with clenbuterol — a steroid-type drug that decreases body fat and increases muscle mass.
“She was found to bear no fault or negligence for the violation, and thus no period of ineligibility has been imposed on her,” said BWF in a statement released on Thursday.
In her defense, she collected eight samples of beef and pork in July from a buffet restaurant she regularly eats at in Thailand, and testing discovered traces of clenbuterol, despite it being banned in Thailand since 2003.
Due to the national ban of the usage of clenbuterol, the BWF panel agreed with her that she thought it was safe for her to dine in that restaurant without knowing the meat was actually still contaminated with the banned substance.
The BWF panel also noticed clenbuterol in her system was well below minimum levels of concern.
In 2016, Intanon was cleared to compete at the Rio Olympic after receiving a provisional ban following a positive test for a corticosteroid. Her team stated that may due to an injection she received to treat her knee injury.
Ratchanok became the youngest world champion in 2013 at 18, and she became the first Thai to reach No. 1 in the world in 2016.