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Lee Yong-dae joins national badminton team to recover reputation
MAY 08, 2014 06:54  
Lee Yong-dae, a flagship player of Korean badminton, has joined the national team anew, and will play the sport to recover his fame that was tarnished due to doping allegations. Even after the disciplinary action of one-year suspension the Badminton World Federation (BWF) took against him and his teammate Kim Ki-jeong (Samsung Electro-Mechanics) was withdrawn on April 14, Lee has been avoiding external contact and remained reclusive. Last week, the Olympic champion went to Andong, North Gyeongsang Province, where the summer badminton championships took place, but returned to his dormitory at Samsung Electro-Mechanics in Suwon the next day, as he was wary of others paying attention to his actions. He took the move due to the possibility that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) could reject WBF뭩 decision and make appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). However, WADA did not take any action through Tuesday, when the three-week deadline for appeal expired.

After being released from disciplinary action due to the expiry of deadline for legal proceedings, Lee will enter the Taeneung Training Center on Thursday to join the national badminton team뭩 training camp. The 25-year-old couldn`t take any group training since last January when disciplinary action against him was announced. Lee was mainly engaged in training designed to boost physical stamina together with Kim Ki-jeong, until he joined the national team in mid-April. National team coach Lee Deuk-choon said, 밇ven while taking rest, Lee has been properly managing his physical condition. His task now is to study how to form good harmony with Yoo Yeon-seong, his partner whom Lee had no chance to forge teamwork for more than four months. Lee told Yoo and Samsung뭩 coaching staff, 밃s I stayed away, I realized how great it is to engage in the sport. The moment I entered the badminton court, it became all the more valuable to me, in expressing strong aspiration. Lee will reappear in a public event through the national team뭩 Media Day occasion on Tuesday next week for the first time since being given disciplinary action.

Lee will officially return to the court through the Men뭩 World Team Championships (Thomas Cup), which will kick off in New Delhi, India on May 18. The Korean team, which will depart for the event on May 15, has been assigned to the same group as Malaysia, India, and Germany. Coach Lee said, 밒t is the Group of the Death, as we have to face off with powerhouse Malaysia, and India, which boasts strong capability in individual뭩 competition category to advance into the second round. Lee has a big role to play. Kim Ki-jeong will also team up again with Kim Sa-rang, his former partner. Malaysian media have said, 밚ee Yong-dae뭩 return will likely be detrimental to the Malaysian national team, expressing interest in his comeback.

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