Australian 800m runner, Peter Bol, has vowed to push on and compete for Gold at the Paris Olympics despite what he says is permanent damage to his reputation caused by a positive test for performance-enhancing drug EPO. Bol, who holds the national record for the event, insists he is innocent, and his ban from training and competition was lifted last month after an “atypical finding” in his B sample. The case is still being investigated by Sport Integrity Australia (SIA).  Bol plans to compete in Europe to qualify for the world championships in Budapest in August and next year’s Paris Olympics.

In an interview with Seven Network’s Spotlight program, Bol acknowledged the speculation surrounding his case but said he would continue to pursue his goals. “There’s always going to be noise out there,” he said. “But at the end of the day, whether I perform well, people are going to think you’re on the juice. I might as well go out there and run and break a few more records.”

Bol, who finished fourth in the 800m final at the Tokyo Olympics after twice breaking the national record, believes he can win Gold in Paris and prove his doubters wrong. “I’m trying to focus on getting to Paris,” he said. “And if I can, I want to go win the damn thing. I’m trying to prove a lot of people wrong.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by @runnerstribe

Bol also addressed a theory that his Sudanese background could have caused an elevated EPO level. “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.”

 

Bol and his team are frustrated that news of his positive test was leaked, scuppering his hopes of being named Young Australian of the Year. He maintains his innocence and hopes to clear his name and pursue his goals on the track.