KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Former badminton world champion Ratchanok Intanon has been cleared of a doping breach and will be allowed to compete at the Olympics next month.
The Badminton World Federation issued a statement Monday saying it had lifted a provisional suspension on the No. 4-ranked Ratchanok, allowing Thailand's Olympic medal hopeful to return to competition immediately.
In the Thai capital Bangkok, Ratchanok broke down in tears as she spoke at a news conference held to announce the good news locally.
"It is my dream to compete at the Olympics. I thank all the team that helped me to go," she was quoted saying on the website of the Bangkok Post newspaper. "I was always confident of my innocence. I didn't do anything wrong."
Ratchanok, who in April who became a national heroine when she became the first Thai be ranked No.1 in women's singles, said she will resume training Tuesday, after the badminton federation had forced her to stop during the investigation.
The BWF's doping hearing panel held an expedited hearing via video conference on Saturday for Ratchanok, who returned a positive sample during the Thomas and Uber Cup finals in China on May 15 for triamcinolone acetonide, a class of steroid hormones known as glucocorticoids.
Use of the substance is prohibited during competition if administered orally, intravenously, intramuscularly or rectally, but the panel found that because administration of the substance was intra-tendinous - directly into the tendon - it did not require a therapeutic use exemption and was part of an ongoing medical treatment, so there was no violation committed.
The BWF said the 21-year-old Ratchanok's medical background and records of treatment were submitted as part of the hearing.
"This evidence together with the testimony from the expert witness established to the satisfaction of the panel that the substance was administered on May 13, before the competition as part of on-going medical treatment of the athlete and that the route of administration of the substance was intra-tendinous," the statement said.
The Olympic badminton tournament runs Aug. 11-20. The Post reported that the seven-member Thai badminton team along with staff will depart Bangkok for Rio de Janeiro on Aug 1.