KUALA LUMPUR - Lee Chong Wei could do with some serious match practice.
The 32-year-old Chong Wei, who is said to have taken the banned substance dexamethasone during the World Championships in Copenhagen last August, has been out of action for seven months.
He attended a hearing in Amsterdam last Saturday but no decision was taken. The three-member panel of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) are expected to announce their decision in three weeks' time.
But plans are already afoot for him to make his first SEA Games appearance in 10 years when the biennial meet takes place in Singapore from June 5-16 - provided he is cleared of the doping charge.
"The SEA Games is one the competitions that we are looking at because Chong Wei will need a lot of match practice to get back into shape after his long absence," said Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) technical director Morten Frost.
"But that is, of course, if he is cleared to play. We're hopeful that the decision (of his doping case) will favour him so that he will be immediately available for next month's Sudirman Cup (from May 10-17 in Dongguan)."
A SEA Games individual gold medal is also among several honours, including the World Championships and Olympics, that remain elusive to the former world No. 1.
The last time Chong Wei competed in the SEA Games was back in 2005 in Manila, where he led Malaysia to the team gold.
He lost to Simon Santoso in the semi-finals to settle for bronze medal in the individual event.
Chong Wei, who made his SEA Games debut in Vietnam in 2003, was slated to lead the country's challenge in the 2009 Laos Games but withdrew at the eleventh hour due to a left knee injury.
Should he make a return at the Singapore Games, then Malaysia can count on him to bring home the long awaited men's singles gold medal, which Malaysia last won through Mohd Roslin Hashim in the 2001 SEA Games here.
Meanwhile, BAM will hold a two-day selection trial to pick shuttlers for the men's and women's singles departments for the Sudirman Cup and SEA Games.
National players like Chong Wei Feng, Liew Daren and Tee Jing Yi will have to slog it out against the invited independent shuttlers for their respective berths on merit.