Australia’s anti-doping authority has dropped its investigation into athlete Peter Bol in the lead-up to the world championships after finding his positive test for synthetic erythropoietin (EPO) was wrong.
The middle-distance runner, who finished fourth in the 800 metres at the Tokyo Olympics, was provisionally suspended in January after testing positive in an out-of-competition urine test last October.
The provisional suspension was lifted a month later after the ‘B’ sample of his test did not match its ‘A’ sample.
Sport Integrity Australia (SIA) continued its investigation, though, saying the ‘B’ sample was an “atypical finding” and not negative.
On Tuesday, SIA said it had investigated the results using a different laboratory accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and a WADA-recognised EPO expert and found Bol’s A-sample was negative.
“As a result, Sport Integrity Australia has taken the decision not to progress an anti-doping rule violation for this sample. The investigation into this sample is finalised,” it said.
Bol, who maintained his innocence throughout, said he had been exonerated.
“It was a false positive like I have said all along,” he said in a statement.
“No one should ever experience what I have gone through this year.”
Australia’s athletics federation said Bol’s case had exposed “several serious questions” about how EPO is analysed by WADA-accredited labs.
“Athletics Australia would like to express its full support of Peter and also its dismay that an innocent athlete has had his integrity put into question,” the federation said.
“Peter Bol and every other high-performance athlete deserve clear and transparent answers to ensure this doesn’t happen again. We encourage Sport Integrity Australia and WADA to provide those answers.”
SIA said it had adhered to WADA’s anti-doping code in its handling of the investigation but added that Bol’s case had prompted the global body to review its EPO processes.
“Sport Integrity Australia will now await outcomes of the WADA review of the EPO review process,” it said.
The world championships start in Budapest on Aug. 19
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