Australian distance runner Peter Bol has been cleared in a doping investigation, after it was revealed in January that he had tested positive for a performance enhancing substance. The Commonwealth Games silver medallist took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to announce that the testing of a second sample had cleared him of any wrong-doing.
News of Bol's provisional suspension earlier this year following a positive test for erythropoietin, more commonly known as EPO, left Australian fans shocked and concerned. Bol vowed to fight the allegation, and asked fans to wait for the full process to play out.
Bol has been vindicated after the 'B' sample, taken at the same time as the original sample which returned a positive result, came back negative. As a result, the provisional suspension imposed by Sport Integrity Australia has been lifted.
The news means Bol can return to training and competition, with fans hopeful his season would not be heavily impacted by the disruption. Bol said it was a 'relief' to have been cleared in a message to fns informing them of the news.
"Last month I told everyone that I was innocent and asked everyone in Australia to believe me and let the process play out," Bol wrote. "I was hopeful that the process would exonerate me. This morning, I am relieved to report that it did.
"I was just informed 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.
"I appreciate the support I have received from my family, my team, and from so many people from Australia and around the world. The last month has been nothing less than a nightmare.
"I wish that the results of my A sample had not been leaked, but there is nothing I can do about that. To say it one more time: I am innocent and have not taken this substance as I was accused.
"I have NEVER in my life purchased, researched, possessed, administered or used synthetic EPO or any other substance, and I never will."
Peter is not a cheater, he is one of our best
— Serkan Öztürk (@SerkanTheWriter) February 14, 2023
So relieved for you Peter! All the best
— Willow Tremaine (@75Tramislate) February 14, 2023
Keep running and winning! All the best for the future!
— keskusmis (@psygyver) February 14, 2023
Always knew you would be cleared. So happy for you.
— TrudyRun2022 #VoteYes (@TrudyOnTheRun) February 14, 2023
Vindication for Peter Bol after doubts raised about testing method
Bol being cleared of any doping violations comes after concerns were raised by a group of anti-doping scientists over the methodology used to test for EPO. Oslo professors of biochemistry and molecular biology Jon Nissen-Meyer, Tore Skotland, Erik Boye and Bjarne Osterud, would have been called by Bol's lawyer, Paul Greene, in his defence should it have come to that.
In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, professor Nissen-Meyer said he had reservations about WADA's methodology for detecting the performance enhancing EPO. “I believe subjectivity and interpretation of results is still occurring and [is] a problem in doping cases. There has definitely not been an improvement to create complete objectivity,” he said.
"There is some ambiguity in some SAR-PAGE test results, especially if too much of the athlete’s sample is added to the testing gel. Overloading the gel may cause the athlete’s normal EPO band to become broad (spread out) and create so-called tailing.
“A broad band (with tailing) of normal EPO may be interpreted wrongly that synthetic EPO together with normal EPO has created a broad band.
“There are some genetic variants of normal EPO that might cause it to behave as synthetic EPO in the SAR-PAGE test. WADA says it’s not a problem because they test for these variants; I am not certain that they in fact have full control with all possible genetic variants.
“The amount of normal EPO found in the urine may in any case vary for one and the same person, depending on the physiological condition of the person at the time his urine sample was collected. If the concentration of normal EPO is extremely high, then the problem of overloading the gel might occur.”
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