Specialist clinic gave Lee banned substance

Putrajaya - The banned substance Dexamethasone was not administered to Malaysian badminton star Lee Chong Wei by doctors at the country's National Sports Institute (ISN), but by a specialist sports clinic in Kuala Lumpur as part of stem-cell treatment for an injury.

This was revealed by Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin yesterday.

"Dexamethasone is allowed for athletes seeking treatment for injuries," he told reporters after attending the launch of the GeNexter Carnival 2014 in Putrajaya.

"It usually lasts in the body for 10 days. But, in this case, we are not sure why it lasted longer than that."

He said that it was the ISN that had referred Lee, the world No. 1, to the clinic.

The shuttler took to Twitter on Saturday, posting a link to an interview in which he describes himself as "devastated" by the allegations.

"Thank you for having faith in me. I never cheated nor will I rely on banned substances," the 32-year-old wrote in the post. "There are so many unanswered questions and I hope to clear my name soon."

Lee - who is facing a suspension of up to two years, which could mean the end of his career - is awaiting a hearing by the Badminton World Federation (BWF). No date has been set.

Referring to the BWF hearing, Mr Khairy said that preparations are being made, with updates to be given in due course.

Lee tested positive for dexamethasone during a random doping test at the World Championships in Copenhagen in August.

Dexamethasone is not a performance-enhancing drug, but a type of steroid medication with anti-inflammatory effects that is usually used to aid an athlete's rehabilitation.