Peter Bol knows he can’t win.
The Australian 800-metre record holder, Olympic finalist and Commonwealth silver medallist knows there will always be people who think he is a drug cheat after he failed a test for the performance enhancing drug EPO.
A follow-up drug test of his B sample at different laboratories came back atypical – which is neither positive nor negative – and so did not validate the initial positive test. That meant the provisional suspension from racing he had been given was lifted.
Australian runner Peter Bol.Credit:Getty Images
Bol believes whatever he does now – whether he runs fast or slow – it will only reinforce prejudice in some people’s minds, so doubters be damned. He is determined to win and care little for what anyone says.
“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,” Bol told Channel Seven’s Spotlight program.
The scandal that engulfed him has only made his resolve greater. He is now determined to win at the Paris Olympics next year.
“You’ve fuelled something I didn’t even have in me before, and I thank you for that,” Bol said of his detractors, using his first interview since his suspension was lifted to declare his innocence again.
“I’m more motivated than ever right now. What are you going to say when I come out this year and break the Australian record again a few times, and I plan to. What are you going to say?
“I want to focus on getting to Paris [Olympics next year]. If I can, I want to go and win the damn thing. I’m trying to prove a lot of people wrong.”
Peter Bol.Credit:Getty Images
Bol said he knew when he was told of his failed drug test that he was either the victim of a set-up, or a horrible mistake.
When told EPO only gets in the system by being injected, he knew it was wrong. He hadn’t injected himself and the drug can’t get there by accident, so it had to be an error.
When asked directly if he had injected himself, Bol was indignant.
“Absolutely not. I’ve never used or possessed any performance enhancing drugs.”
Did anybody else inject you with EPO? “Absolutely not.”
Accidentally? “You can’t accidentally inject EPO into your body, and that’s a clear no.”
Are you a drug cheat? “No!”
How did you have a positive test then? “I guess [it] must be a mistake because I’m 100 per cent certain of my innocence. I’m not sure whether it’s the test or what’s going on, but I’ve never used it.”
Bol said he would happily take a lie detector test to prove his innocence.
“As soon as they said you had to inject into yourself, I knew it’s just a terrible mistake. Or I think I said something like … it’s either a set-up or it’s a big mistake because there is no way I’d ever even consider cheating in this sport.”
After being told he had tested positive, but before news of the positive test broke, Bol stopped running. He played basketball and rode his bike to stay fit; he was running a different sort of race.
In February, after Bol’s suspension was lifted, his coach Justin Rinaldi said Bol would be back running within days. But Rinaldi expected his athlete would need a few days to get back in the right headspace to train, after four or five weeks off.
“I said, I’m not running, because I’m not running to be the best in the world anymore. I’m running to clear my name,” Bol said.
“I mean, I’m part of the Australian team. It’s something you’d never hear of because we believe in clean sport. Test me as many times as you want. In fact, I could sit here, do a lie detector anytime you want. We are happy to give you anything. A guilty person is not going to do that. Give me a lie detector,” he said.
“I always thought I’d retire on my own terms and someone tells you it’s over. It’s hard to accept.”
Bol believed the timing of the leak of the story that he had failed his drug test was too coincidental, coming days before the announcement of the Australian and Young Australian of the Year awards. Bol was the Western Australia nominee for Young Australian of the Year.
His lawyer and coach have previously pointed to Sport Integrity Australia or Athletics Australia for the leak. Athletics Australia president Jan Swinhoe has previously rejected the idea, saying she was very confident that AA was not the source of any leak of Bol’s suspension.
“A leak happened somewhere there … at just a perfect time, just a few days before Young Australian of the Year awards, Australian of the Year awards,” Bol said. “[I was] a strong contender.”
News, results and expert analysis from the weekend of sport sent every Monday. Sign up for our Sport newsletter.
Most Viewed in Sport
From our partners
Source: Read Full Article