Kuala Lumpur: For many people, the period between June 26th, 2015 and June 9th, 2016 was probably just another normal year. However, for Malaysian badminton superstar Lee Chong Wei, it was an important moment in his badminton career that recorded his remarkable journey of hitting the bottom then rising to the top.
Lee was handed a backdated eight-month ban by BWF after being tested positive for dexamethasone at the 2014 world championships (Dexamethasone is an anti-inflammatory that does not enhance performance but is on the list of banned substances). Lee then received a provisional suspension since November 2014.
Lee went to Amsterdam to face a three-member independent panel for the anti-doping hearing on April 11, 2015.
On April 27, 2015, BWF released a statement saying “The panel is convinced this is not a case of doping with intent to cheat”, and officially ended Lee’s sanction on 30 April, 2015.
The panel found that Lee had been “negligent”, but ruled that the degree of negligence was “rather light”. His dexamathesone contamination was said to be from the gelatin casing of food supplement he was consuming.
Lee lost his World No. 1 ranking in December 2014, he was 46th when he competed in his first tournament after the eight-month ban — at the Sudirman Cup in May, 2015. His long absence from the badminton court saw his ranking plummeted to World No. 180 on June 26, 2016.
Lee kicked off the 2016 season by capturing the Malaysia Masters title in January. However, he was defeated by B. Sai Praneeth of India in the first round of All England and Wei Nan of Hong Kong in the second round of India Open in March. He then bounced back strongly with a winning streak by bagging his 11th Malaysian Open title in April, defeated both Lin Dan and Chen Long en route to his Asia Championships title. Lee also added additional 11,000 ranking points to his BWF profile after winning his sixth Indonesia Open last Sunday.
After tumultuous 18 months with a lot of ups and downs, Lee Chong Wei finally surpassed Chen Long of China and officially returned to the World No. 1 ranking in the latest BWF ranking released on Thursday.
“Honestly, I had never imagined I could return to the world No. 1 after the doping incident. I was aiming for top four, that was it. However, the No. 1 ranking is definitely a big confidence boost for me,” said the 33-year old to Malaysian media.
Lee Chong Wei is currently undergoing a routine physiotherapy with the Malaysia badminton squad competing at the Australia Open in Sydney.
“Besides receiving the physiotherapy in Australia, I am also taking few days off from training,” added Lee.
BadmintonPlanet would like to congratulate Lee Chong Wei for retaking the top spot in badminton, hope he is getting enough rest to refresh and to keep going strong!