Melbourne, Australia; 1 August 2023 – Athletics Australia welcomes Sport Integrity Australia’s confirmation today, of the news that every sports fan has been hoping for… Peter Bol has been cleared of any wrongdoing in relation to his out-of-competition test from October 2022.
While this comes as good news for the Australian athletics community, the matter has exposed several serious questions about how EPO is analysed by WADA-accredited laboratories.
“Above all, Athletics Australia would like to express its full support for Peter and also its dismay that an innocent athlete has had his integrity put into question,” Athletics Australia CEO Peter Bromley said.
“Athletics Australia remains focused on Peter’s well-being and the well-being of Australia’s other elite track and field athletes and coaches aiming for the Budapest World Athletics Championships this month.
“This case raises very serious questions about the accuracy and consistency of EPO analysis.
“Peter Bol has been trapped in a very difficult and damaging no-man’s land for the last seven months.
“He, and every other high-performance athlete, deserves clear and transparent answers to explain what went wrong and what is being done to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
“Statements today from WADA and SIA suggest there will be a review of the EPO analysis process which Athletics Australia welcomes.
“We call on both organisations to provide more detail around any Terms of Reference for this review, how long it will take and a commitment to make the findings public.”
Mr Bromley said Athletics Australia have had their hands tied for the past six months.
“Athletics Australia has followed the very strict protocols dictated by Sport Integrity Australia and the National Anti-Doping Policy throughout this entire process including communication protocols,” Bromley said.
“We understand stand the need for these protocols under the WADA Code and for Sport Integrity Australia to conduct an independent investigation and decision making, but it puts sporting organizations in limbo, where there is very little that they can do or say until the process is complete.
“This process has been frustrating, distressing and disruptive for Peter, his team and Athletics Australia.
“We wrote to Sport Integrity Australia back in April to urge them to move quickly to finalise their investigation.
“We respect their need to conduct independent and comprehensive investigations, but the question athletes are asking is why couldn’t SIA have fast tracked the additional analysis of the sample that has now cleared Peter.
“Athletics Australia strongly advocates for a robust anti-doping system that ensures fair competition and protects the rights of athletes.
“In the pursuit of clean and credible sport, athletes must have utmost confidence in the anti-doping system, and not fear something that has been put in place to protect them.
“The incident serves as a reminder that we must continually strive for improvement and we look forward to hearing more from WADA and SIA about the review.”
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