The Badminton World Federation (BWF) announced on Tuesday that after reviewing “new evidence” given by the Badminton Korea Association (BKA), it has reinstated South Korea’s Olympic badminton gold medalist Lee Yong-dae and another Korean player Kim Ki-jung. Both players were banned from playing in any tournaments for one year after missing their dope tests. After the decision, they are free to compete at this year’s Asian Games.
Back in January, the BWF suspended them for a year, for violating doping procedures, saying administrative lapses led to three missed drug tests.
Both players then appealed the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
According to BWF, it said they were applying the appropriate decision based on information they received on January. At that time, they chose not to dish out the maximum two-year ban due to BKA failure to make diligent efforts to keep it informed about the players’ whereabouts.
However, in the announcement on Tuesday, BWF said: “The information and evidence presented at the January hearing was insufficient and was ambiguous and there was no proof beyond reasonable doubt that the players were not at fault,”
At a news conference in Seoul shortly after the announcement of BWF, BKA president Shin Kye-ryun, accompanied by his lawyers, told reporters that justice had been done.
Shin Kye-ryun admitted the whole situation was caused by their administrative errors and that the athletes are innocent.
“The last three months were difficult for Lee Yong-dae and Kim Ki-jung. This was a massive relief for the duo to have their suspensions lifted” Shin added.
‘I am extremely sorry and grateful. I will try my best in upcoming tournaments and to repay my fans for their support.’ said Lee Yong-Dae on the phone.
The duo is now eligible to compete at the Asian Games, taking place in Korea’s port city of Incheon from September 19 to Oct 4.