After two long months, the Peter Bol EPO-doping saga has concluded. Two independent laboratories have cleared the Australian 800m runner of ever using the banned substance, noting a “catastrophic blunder” in testing from Sports Integrity Australia (SIA).
Sports Integrity Australia have a lot to answer for. So far all our requests to have an open dialogue with them have been met with silence. To say we are frustrated is an understatement. pic.twitter.com/FOqpjm02XF
— fast8trackclub (@fast8trackclub) March 28, 2023
In January, the 29-year-old faced a four-year suspension after he returned a positive result for the banned substance erythropoietin (EPO) from a urine sample taken in October. Upon further investigation, according to Sports Integrity Australia, neither of Bol’s A or B samples showed the presence of EPO in his urine: “Only naturally occurring endogenous erythropoietin was present during both tests.”
Bol Said In an interview with Australia’s 9News that the entire process from the SIA was nothing but unfair to him. “To accuse me of doping without scientific proof… it’s tough, but deep down, I knew I was innocent,” said Bol.
He became a household name in Australia at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after breaking two national records in qualifying to reach the men’s 800m final, where he finished fourth. At the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, UK, he won silver in the 800m behind Kenya’s Wyclife Kinyamal.
Throughout the process, Bol hired a lawyer and stressed his innocence on social media, saying he would do whatever was necessary to clear his name. “I told everyone that I was innocent and asked everyone in Australia to believe me and let the process play out,” Bol wrote on Twitter.
Bol voluntarily handed over his laptop, iPad and phone to the SIA to help prove his innocence and paid $1,200 to have his B-sample tested.
During the investigation process, a group of Norwegian scientists raised their doubts about Peter Bol’s positive A-sample, saying the testing for EPO by the World Anti-Doping Agency remains subjective, especially in cases such as Bol’s, which delivered a “borderline” positive result.
According to the sydney heraldhis legal team sent a letter to SIA demanding the ongoing investigation into the 800m runner to end.
The letter includes two independent expert analyzes of Bol’s urine sample from October last year “never showed the presence of any synthetic EPO” and that “inexperience and incompetence at the Australian Sports Drug Testing Laboratory (ASDTL) led to an incorrect determination” of his positive A-sample.
Last month, the SIA lifted Bol’s suspension allowing him to return to training after the B-sample tested by the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA) returned an atypical finding.
Bol said he does not intend to sue SIA for damages, although his legal costs are around $50,000.
“I want SIA to see this situation as an opportunity to improve,” he said to the Sydney Herald. “Not me trying to fight them. We’ve been transparent the whole time. They should be the same. What my family has gone through should never happen, but it did happen, and we want people to be held accountable.”