Badminton Star May Miss Out on Asian Games

Lee Yong-dae Lee Yong-dae

Badminton player Lee Yong-dae, an Olympic gold medalist in Beijing and bronze medalist in London, may not be able to compete in Incheon Asian Games this fall due to incompetence at the Badminton Korea Association.

The BKA at a press conference on Tuesday said the Badminton World Federation banned Lee and Kim Ki-jung for one year for missing dope tests on Jan. 24. The BWF also fined the BKA US$20,000.

It concluded that Lee and Kim "violated requirements relating to filing whereabouts information and resulting in missed tests under the BWF anti-doping regulations" in March, September, and November last year for out-of-competition drug tests.

According to the regulations of the World Anti-Doping Agency, athletes who are on the list for dope tests and fail to file the information three times in 18 months will be banned from competitions for one to two years.

Kim Jung-soo, executive director of the BKA, said that Korea is the first country to be subjected to the ban.

This has brought lack of professionalism at the BKA under intense criticism. The WADA, based in Montreal, Canada, made the whereabouts filing system for out-of-competition dope tests electronic in 2009. Athletes are given an ID and required to report their whereabouts on the WADA website. If they move due to competition or training, they need to report the changes in advance.

But usually the national governing body of the sport takes care of this administrative chore.

However, the BKF did not take the matter seriously and failed to update the athletes' information since they submitted tentative schedules for the season early last year.

When an official from the Sweden's International Doping Tests and Management visited the Taeneung Training Center in Seoul in March 2013, Lee and Kim were at a training base of their club team in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province. The official waited for them for an hour and left.

The BWF told the athletes and the BKF to update the information by mid-September, but the Korean federation did nothing, which was treated as the second violation.

The official visited the Taeneung Training Center again in November as indicated in the system. But the two athletes were again absent, taking part in the 2013 BWF Korea Open Grand Prix Gold in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province. This was treated as the third violation.

Kim Jung-soo said, "We did not know about the three-strike rule." 

This sanction means that Lee and Kim will not be able to compete until Jan. 23, 2015. Lee has been Korea's biggest badminton star since his triumph in Beijing in 2008, but now his chance of competing in the Asian Games in Incheon in September is slim.

Kim pledged to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport before the deadline on Feb. 17 and try to reduce the penalty to three to five months. If Lee and Kim cannot compete at the Asiad, the BKF will take the responsibility.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jan. 29, 2014 13:13 KST