Bol, who was nominated for Australian of the Year after he was the first Australian runner in 53 years to make it into an Olympic 800m final, was provisionally banned after returning a positive result to EPO back in October 2022 when tested out of competition.
EPO has been banned as a performance-enhancing drug since the early 1990s, and was infamously used by Lance Armstrong as part of a sophisticated doping program through the late 1990s and early 2000s, during which he won 7 consecutive Tour De France titles.
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Bol, 28, maintained he had not taken any drug, having reportedly passed “20 tests” after the positive sample in January.
A positive initial sample, known as an A Sample, provisionally suspends competitors until a second confirmation sample is used, known as a B Sample.
In a statement on Tuesday, Bol released a statement on Twitter, confirming that his B Sample “did not confirm my A Sample”.
“Last month, I told everyone that I was innocent and asked that everyone in Australia believe me and let the process play out,” Bol said.
“I was hopeful that the process would exonerate me.
“This morning, I am relieved to report that it did.
“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.”
Bol reiterated his innocence in the statement, but did not commit to a timeline of a return to competition, with the Adelaide Invitational kicking off the Australian athletics season for the year this weekend.
“To say it one more time: I am innocent and have not taken this substance as I was accused,” he said.
“I have NEVER in my life purchased, researched, possessed, administered or used synthetic EPO or any other Prohibited Substance, and never will.”
Bol’s lawyer Paul Greene, speaking on ABC Radio Perth, said: “I told everyone he was innocent and I turned out to be right.”
He said the A sample being announced was a “disgrace” and described the process as “unbelievable.”
Greene said Sports Integrity Australia should “embarassed” by what’s happened, and that Peter is “elated, relieved, upset” and incredibly grateful that “everyone stood by him.”
“That support I think is what got him through the last month,” Greene said.
With his family fleeing the Sudanese Civil War when he was four and migrating to Australia in 2002, Bol rose to prominence at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 after winning his 800m semi-final and finishing just outside the medals in fourth in the final.
He set a new Australian 800m record in the semi-final, clocking 1:44:13 to take the honour off his training partner Joseph Deng who had owned the record for three years.
Bol then lowered his own record at the Paris Diamond League in June last year to 1:44:00, proving he was one of the world’s best middle-distance runners.
He then went on to make the final of the World Championships in Eugene, Oregon, before winning the silver medal in the 800m at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
After his efforts in Tokyo, stalwart Olympics writer Phil Lutton described him as “the most important story of the Games.”
“What he represents, where he has come from, and where he is going is of immense cultural significance,” Lutton said.
Sport Integrity Australia confirmed the results in a statement, saying that they were from a WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) accredited laboratory.
“The results of the Part A sample analysis for the Athlete was an Adverse Analytical Finding (positive doping test) for rEPO.
“The results of the Part B Sample analysis is an Atypical Finding (ATF) for recombinant EPO.
“An ATF is not the same as a negative test result.
“An ATF is a report from a WADA-accredited laboratory which requires further investigation as provided by the World Anti-Doping Code.
“Recombinant EPO…is classified as a Non-Specified Substance under the World Anti-Doping Code…and is prohibited at all times.
“Recombinant EPO is a synthetic substance and is not produced naturally by the human body.
“Pursuant to the relevant provisions in the Australian National Anti-Doping Policy 2021 and World Anti-Doping Code 2021, the Mandatory Provisional Suspension which was imposed on the Athlete following the AAF from the Part A Sample on 10 January 2023 is lifted.
“The investigation into the matter remains ongoing.
“It is not possible to provide a timeframe at this point.
“Any decision made by Sport Integrity Australia is subject to appeal from the Athletics Integrity Unit and WADA in according with the Australian National Anti-Doping Policy 2021 and World Anti-Doping Code 2021.
“Sport Integrity Australia is not currently in a position to comment further on the matter.”
News.com.au have contacted Athletics Australia for comment.
Story Credit: news.com.au