There are new claims that Australian Olympic runner Peter Bol may be a victim of a ‘subjective’ interpretation of drug test results.
The 800m national record holder failed a doping test in January, returning a positive A sample to EPO.
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Following the shock revelation, former Australian sprint star and 7NEWS sports reader Matt Shirvington said the Bol camp was “baffled” by the weak positive result (it was one band out of five).
“Peter Bol to be caught up in a debacle like this is devastating for athletics in Australia,” Shirvington told 7NEWS.
“His camp is very confused. Baffled by the situation.
“My understanding is that Peter Bol had not just this one test, but he has had 20 tests since this one (from October 11) as well, and only one of them has come back positive.”
Now four professors from Oslo in Norway also believe there is “ambiguity.”
Professors of biochemistry and molecular biology Jon Nissen-Meyer, Tore Skotland, Erik Boye and Bjarne Osterud have said “subjectivity and interpretation of results is still occurring and (it is) a problem in doping cases”.
“There has definitely not been an improvement to create complete objectivity,” Nissen-Meyer said in an interview with The Age.
“There is some ambiguity in some SAR-PAGE test results (the testing method applied for Bol’s first sample), especially if too much of the athlete’s sample is added to the testing gel. Overloading the gel may cause the athlete’s normal EPO band to become broad and create so-called tailing.
“A broad band (with tailing) of normal EPO may be interpreted wrongly that synthetic EPO together with normal EPO has created a broad band.
“There are some genetic variants of normal EPO that might cause it to behave as synthetic EPO in the SAR-PAGE test. WADA says it’s not a problem because they test for these variants; I am not certain that they in fact have full control with all possible genetic variants.
“The amount of normal EPO found in the urine may in any case vary for one and the same person, depending on the physiological condition of the person at the time his urine sample was collected. If the concentration of normal EPO is extremely high, then the problem of overloading the gel might occur.”
Bol has requested a B sample testing (which will cost him $1200), due to be sent off this week. The B sample will employ two different testing methods in the hope of greater accuracy.
But sports medicine specialist Dr Peter Larkins told 7NEWS it was rare for an A sample to be overturned.
“I don’t know of an oral way to get EPO into your system without knowing and it’s pretty hard for me to put a needle in you without knowing you’ve had an injection so it’s quite extraordinary for an EPO result to come up on someone who doesn’t know howit got in their system,” he said.
“Unfortunately, historically people who’ve had a positive A sample in EPO .. it’s pretty rare they don’t have a positive on the B sample as well.”
Bol addressed the matter when the news of his positive result came to light.
“It is critically important to convey with the strongest conviction that I am innocent and have not taken this substance as I am accused,” Bol said.
“I ask everyone in Australia, believe me and let the process play out. When I found out last week that the A sample from a urine test taken on 11 October had tested positive for synthetic EPO I was in total shock.
“To be clear I have NEVER in my life purchased, researched, possessed, administered or used synthetic EPO or any other Prohibited Substance.
“I voluntarily turned over my laptop, iPad and phone to Sport Integrity Australia to prove this.”
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