Sport Integrity Australia update on the Peter Bol matter
In January 2023, Australian athlete Peter Bol was notified of a positive finding for synthetic EPO.
The analysis and interpretation of all samples is conducted by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)-accredited laboratories and WADA-recognised experts, independently of Sport Integrity Australia.
The World Anti-Doping Code (Code) requires a mandatory provisional suspension be imposed when a positive test for synthetic EPO is reported. In this case Athletics Australia was required to impose the mandatory provisional suspension.
A subsequent independent analysis of the athlete’s B-sample returned an atypical finding which did not confirm the result of the A-sample.
The Code requires the mandatory provisional suspension to be lifted when the B-sample analysis does not match that of the A-sample.
As required under the Code, Sport Integrity Australia conducted an investigation into the results. As part of this investigation, Sport Integrity Australia initiated further analysis of the samples using a different independent WADA-accredited laboratory and different WADA-recognised EPO expert.
Sport Integrity Australia also sought confirmation from WADA regarding the applicable EPO analysis process.
The further analysis resulted in varying expert opinions as to the positive or negative reporting of the sample, and the A-sample was reported as 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.
WADA has acknowledged that at all times Sport Integrity Australia adhered to the Code in relation to its management of the matter. Athletics Australia, too, has adhered to the required process throughout this matter.
WADA will now undertake a review of current EPO processes. It is important to highlight that the analysis for synthetic EPO is a unique process which is different to how other prohibited substances are identified.
Athletes in Australia should have confidence in the anti-doping system that has allowed Sport Integrity Australia to conduct a thorough investigation.
A review and strengthening of the EPO review process by WADA is an indication of good governance structures in place.
Sport Integrity Australia will now await outcomes of the WADA review of the EPO review process.
Sport Integrity Australia acknowledges the significant public interest in this outcome. However, Sport Integrity Australia is required to comply with its obligations under the World Anti-Doping Code and its International Standards, and our legislative requirements, and cannot make any further comment in relation to the matter.