Verdict delay another poser for Lee Chong Wei's return

Verdict delay another poser for Lee Chong Wei's return

AMSTERDAM - Lee Chong Wei is set to miss two major tournaments after his hearing over a doping issue ended without a verdict.

On Saturday, Chong Wei came through an eight-hour hearing with the Badminton World Federation's (BWF) three-member independent panel only to find out that the verdict will only be made withiin three weeks' time.

The 32-year-old is facing a two-year career-threatening ban after testing positive for the banned substance dexamethasone during the World Championships in Copenhagen last August.

Before the hearing, Chong Wei was hoping for a lighter sentence - either to walk off scot-free or a less than six-month retroactive ban - so that he can play in the Sudirman Cup in China from May 10-17 and World Championships in Jakarta from Aug 10-16.

The delay has put Chong Wei in a tricky situation.

The closing date for the Sudirman Cup is on April 27 and only selected players based on the April 30 world rankings will make the cut for the World Championships.

Chong Wei, who has dropped to 17th in the world, said that his hopes to compete in the two majors "are now in critical position".

"If the panel takes three weeks to decide, my hopes of competing are over.

"But it is alright if I do not make it to these two tournaments.

"I am more determined to make a comeback to qualify for next year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro," said Chong Wei, a two-time Olympic silver medallist.

Nemesis Lin Dan was given a wild card to compete in the World Championships in 2013 in Wuhan.

When asked whether he would be given a wild card from the BWF if he fails to qualify for the World Championships, Chong Wei said: "I doubt this will happen. Lin Dan was given a wild card under different circumstances. He was playing at home. My situation is totally different and I am not sure whether the world body will consider me."

Although the verdict's delay is disappointing, Chong Wei remained upbeat of his chances.

"I am just glad that the hearing is over. The decision is not in my hands now, but I do hope to get a favourable result. I am happy with the thorough presentation by my lawyers, led by Mike Morgan.

"I also want to thank all my fans for their support. It is not an easy time for me but the fans' support keeps me motivated," added Chong Wei, who will resume training at the Juara Stadium in Bukit Jalil after returning home on Monday.

Without Chong Wei, Malaysia are set to experience more dismal moments in the Sudirman Cup and World Championships.

In his absence, the other shuttlers have performed poorly in the back-to-back Malaysian and Singapore Opens recently.

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