negative Peter Bol’s doping suspension lifted after B sample test negative
Peter Bol, whose athletics career was in the balance after failing an out of competition doping test last year, has had his provisional ban lifted after a B sample did not match the original A sample, but Sport Integrity Australia will continue its investigations into the matter.
Bol, who finished fourth in the 800m at the Tokyo Olympics, was provisionally suspended by Athletics Australia in January after a urine test showed signs of synthetic EPO, a performance-enhancing agent that is on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list.
The national 800m record holder and Commonwealth Games silver medallist strongly denied he had ever taken any banned substance and requested a B sample be analysed, as per Australian national anti-doping policy guidelines.
On Tuesday he tweeted a statement to say the B sample did not back up the original result, and that he is now free to return to training and competition.
“Last month I told everyone that I was innocent and asked that everyone in Australia believe me and let the process play out,” he said. “I was hopeful that the process would exonerate me. This morning I am relieved to report that it did.
“I was just informed that my B sample did not confirm my A sample. My provisional suspension has been lifted by Sport Integrity Australia. The relief I am feeling is hard to describe.”
Sport Integrity Australia, the country’s anti-doping authority, confirmed it had received the results of Bol’s B sample but “the investigation into the matter remains ongoing”.
The B sample returned an atypical finding (ATF) for EPO that SIA said required further investigation as per Wada rules, and it would now seek a second opinion from a Wada-accredited laboratory.
“An ATF is not the same as a negative test result,” a statement read.
“Sport Integrity Australia will, as part of its investigation, proceed to consider whether any anti-doping rule violation/s have been committed. It is not possible to provide a timeframe at this point.”
Athletics Australia confirmed the ban had been lifted and released a statement on Tuesday night saying: “The result of the B sample was reported by the laboratory as Atypical, which is neither negative nor positive, and requires further investigation.
“Under the World Anti-Doping Code, Athletics Australia is now required to lift the provisional suspension whilst the investigation continues.
“Peter is now permitted to train at a national, state or club level, compete and coach, as well as receive funding, use official or member facilities and hold a position with a sporting organisation.”
Since Athletics Australia imposed the provisional ban, the 28-year-old has not been permitted to train at a national, state or club level, or compete at any level. Funding was also suspended.
At the time Bol said he would cooperate fully with Sport Integrity Australia as a fair hearing process was worked through but admitted that his career “literally hanging in the balance”.
“The last month has been nothing less than a nightmare,” he said on Tuesday. “I wish that the results of my A sample had not been leaked, but there is nothing more I can do about that.
“To say it one more time: I am innocent and have not taken this substances I was accused. I have never in my life purchased, researched, possessed, administered or used synthetic EPO or any other prohibited substance, and never will.”
Bol was one of Australia’s stars of the 2020 Olympics, held in 2021, when he became the first Australian to reach an 800m final at a Games since 1968. A thrilling run, which saw him lead the world’s best but ultimately miss out on a bronze medal by a whisker, captured the imagination of a nation.
He was in November named Western Australia’s Young Australian of the Year for both his athletic achievements and his work off the track. He also works as a coach, mentor, keynote speaker and has been recognised for his philanthropic efforts.