Badminton association has failedHeadlines such as “Olympics badminton gold medalist Lee Yong-dae found positive in doping test” flashed everywhere on Tuesday. People were shocked to learn the badminton star, who won gold in mixed doubles at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and a bronze in the men’s doubles in the 2012 London Games, had used banned substances. But then came the corrections: “Lee Yong-dae and Kim Ki-jung, banned for one year for missing doping tests” and “Lee cannot compete in Asian Games because of administrative mistake by the Badminton Korea Association.”
The two athletes were sanctioned because they were absent during visits by anti-doping inspectors. The Badminton World Federation said in a statement that the two were required to provide information on their whereabouts to the federation so they could undergo out-of-competition testing. In 2013, both athletes accumulated three whereabouts failures in connection with the administrative process. During the March and November visits by anti-doping inspectors, Lee and Kim had been participating in local and international competitions. The local association failed to submit the whereabouts report online last September. Instead of the maximum two-year sanction, the players received one-year penalties lasting until Jan. 23, 2015, because of the Badminton Korea Association’s part in failing to keep the federation informed about the players’ whereabouts. The anti-doping panel is considering fining the Korean association as well. The two players can appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but they are still at risk of missing the summer Asian Games in Incheon.
The association’s negligence has defamed the names of the players and the Korean sports community. It is inexcusable that it made the same error three times in a year. There must be a glaring hole in the association’s overall system for managing players. The association plans to appeal to the World Anti-Doping Agency, explaining the mistake was an administrative error and the players did not intentionally miss the tests. The government should help so that the players can compete in the coming year. Other sports need to use this moment to check the integrity of their management systems. But in the meantime, the badminton association executives should retire to take responsibility for this serious blunder.