Peter Bol vows to prove himself on the track again after drug controversy | Athletics
Peter Bol says he has suffered permanent damage to his reputation after testing positive to EPO, but has vowed to push on and chase 800m gold at the Paris Olympics “to prove a lot of people wrong”.
The national record holder steadfastly maintains his innocence, despite being informed by Sport Integrity Australia (SIA) on 10 January that he had tested positive to performance-enhancing synthetic EPO.
Bol’s training and competition ban was lifted last month when his B sample returned an “atypical finding”, meaning it was neither positive or negative.
SIA is still investigating the case. If it determines that Bol has no further case to answer, he is set to return to the track in Europe in the next couple of months to chase the qualifying standard for the world championships in Budapest in August and next year’s Paris Olympics.
“There’s always going to be speculations, there’s always going to be noise out there,” Bol told the Seven Network’s Spotlight program in an interview aired on Sunday evening.
“But at the end of the day, whether I perform well, people are going to think you’re on the juice.
“And if I don’t perform well, people are going to think you got off it, and you can’t control that narrative each way.
“I might as well go out there and run and break a few more records.”
One theory that has been expounded for the Sudanese-born Bol’s elevated EPO level is his ethnicity.
“It’s in our genetics of course,” he said. “We’re fitter, we’re faster, we’re more resilient because of how much we’ve been through and gone through.
“It’s our genetics; it’s who we are. We can get back in shape pretty fast (but) it doesn’t mean we are cheating. It’s how we’re born.”
EPO is a hormone that is produced naturally by the body and stimulates red blood cell production, but can also be taken illegally in a synthetic form.
Bol and his camp remain furious that the news of his initial positive test was leaked, believing the culprit had to be associated with SIA or Athletics Australia.
The news scuppered his hopes of being named the Young Australian of the Year.
Bol shot to prominence at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, twice breaking the 800m national record before finishing a close fourth in the final.
He was disappointed to miss out on a medal at last year’s world titles in Oregon but bounced back to claim silver in the 800m at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
“I want to focus on getting to Paris,” he said. “If I can, I want to go win the damn thing. I’m trying to prove a lot of people wrong.”