KUALA LUMPUR - National shuttler Datuk Lee Chong Wei has been assured of getting the "best defence possible" at his doping hearing by Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
"I've spoken with the athlete. He is anxious and concerned about his future. I told him to hang in there and that we will do our best to get all the facts prepared for the hearing," he said after the launch of TCBY Yogurt here.
He said the ministry and the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) would ensure that the athlete was provided with the best defence possible during the hearing, expected to be held over the next 21 days.
There would only be one session before the Badminton World Federation (BWF) makes a decision.
Asked if Chong Wei's potential ban could ruin Malaysian badminton, he said whatever the result, Malaysian badminton would not be affected in the long run, adding: "It shouldn't derail Malaysian badminton."
Khairy said he had also asked the BWF to expedite the re-checking of an out-of-competition test conducted by the World Anti-Doping Association (Wada), which the shuttler took on Aug 15.
It was reported on Thursday that the sample from the test was sent to a laboratory in Barcelona and that it did not show any trace of dexamethasone.
Once administered into an athlete's body, dexamethasone should metabolise within 10 to 14 days and not be in the system for more than a month.
If traces of dexamethasone were found, it would confirm the slow metabolism process of the substance in the athlete's body for some strange reasons.
At an earlier event, Khairy said Chong Wei's positive dope test was not akin to that of Ben Johnson or Lance Armstrong as dexamethasone was a medical steroid used to aid athletes' rehabilitation after injuries.
(Johnson was an Olympic sprinter who was found to be using steroids, while cyclist Armstrong was banned from competitive cycling for life in 2012 for the same reason.)
"I want to stress this is not a performance-enhancing drug. It shouldn't affect public perception of badminton (in Malaysia). It is an 'unfortunate, isolated case'," said Khairy after the launch of the GeNexter Forum.
The forum was organised by the Welfare Association of Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers (Bakti).
Its head, the Prime Minister's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, said Generation Y were future leaders who had an important role to uphold the country's aspirations.