Lee Chong Wei has dominated the world rankings without ever capturing one of badminton`s biggest prizes and now the Malaysian`s hopes of a last shot at glory appear likely to have ended in an Oslo laboratory.
The 32-year-old Lee has spent almost 300 weeks ranked number one in the world but after losing the last two Olympic and three world championship finals he will no longer have a chance to cap his stellar career with a “dream” Rio gold in 2016.
Lee`s 55 global titles have made him Malaysia`s leading sportsman but his legacy of a perfect role model and father will now surely be tarnished after traces of the banned anti-inflammatory drug dexamethasone were discovered in his system during the August world championships in Denmark.
After a follow-up test in Norway this week, witnessed by the player and Malaysian badminton officials, confirmed the positive test, the likely two-year ban represents a sad way for Lee to end his affiliation with a sport he did so much to promote.
Although Malaysian authorities may discover that the drug was taken inadvertently as part of medical treatment, Lee, who received stem cell injections in July for a thigh injury, will still be expected to serve the full two-year term.
Born in the small town of Bagan Serai in northern Peninsula Malaysia, Lee`s first love was basketball but his family pushed him to take up badminton and his supreme footwork and defensive skills had earned a call up to the national squad at 17.
He won his first major title in 2003 on home soil and as he added more deceptive shots to his repertoire, the tournament wins continued to flow and he claimed the number one ranking for the first time in 2006.