Kuala Lumpur: Lee Chong Wei’s defence team will be relying on the argument that the Malaysian national shuttler did not knowingly take the banned substance dexamethasone, at the hearing of the doping case on April 11 in Amsterdam.
Malaysian counsel Jadadish Chandra said lead counsel Mike Morgan, a specialist on sports law based in London hired by the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM), and his legal team were also ready to put forward the argument that dexamethasone was not a performance-enhancing drug.
He said the drug was used to relieve muscle pain and that during his 12-year professional career, Chong Wei had his blood screened 124 times.
“We are also going to put forward the argument that Chong Wei is at the tail-end of his professional career and no way would he want to mar his reputation by taking the banned substance,” Jadadish Chandra told Bernama.
Jadadish Chandra, who is also a BAM council member, is the team manager for the Malaysian shuttlers taking part in the Indian Open starting on Tuesday in the capital city.
The lawyer said he would accompany Chong Wei, along with BAM general manager Kenny Goh and another BAM official, and would stop over in London for few days before the hearing to finalise their submissions and strategies with the law firm.
London-based lawyer Morgan had represented Manchester City footballer Yaya Toure and other sports personalities from the United States in doping hearings.
Jadadish Chandra revealed that the legal team would use the views of experts and the other medical reports of Chong Wei to support their arguments in Amsterdam.
Asked for the team’s strategy, he said he was not at liberty to disclose the details.
“Let the panel hear us first rather than we disclose (details) to the press,” he said. Chong Wei, who is currently serving a suspension for a doping violation at the World Championships in Copenhagen last August, faces a ban of up to two years if found guilty.
Effective January 1 this year, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) had amended its doping regulation to provide for the imposition of a four-year suspension on those confirmed to have taken banned drugs.
Jadadish Chandra pointed out that if the three-member panel found him guilty and imposed the maximum (two-year) penalty, it will effectively end Chong Wei’s career as he had already announced he would retire after the Rio Olympics in July next year.
He said the panel would deliver its decision either on the same day or two-to-three days after the hearing.
He also said that April 11 would not likely see the end of the proceedings as either party (the BAM or BWF) could appeal against the decision of the panel to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Zurich.
“We are seeking an order to lift the ban for his (Chong Wei’s) immediate return to international tournaments,” said Jadadish Chandra, who confirmed that Chong Wei had been training as usual under the supervision of his coach Tey Seu Bock.