Australian middle-distance star Peter Bol has returned a positive result to an out-of-competition anti-doping test.
As confirmed by Athletics Australia, the 800m runner is awaiting the results of his B sample after his A sample came back positive for synthetic erythropoietin (EPO).
Bol, who is denying any wrongdoing, is provisionally suspended following the adverse findings to the test which occurred on October 11 last year.
“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 wrote in a message on social media.
“I ask that 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.
“I have requested the analysis of my B Sample which will take place in February.
“My career, hopes and dreams are literally hanging in the balance over these next few weeks, and I ask everyone to respect my privacy as I remain provisionally suspended.”
Athletics Australia CEO Peter Bromley spoke of his surprise at the finding.
“There are procedural fairness and investigative consideration that constrain how much we can say, and at this point it would be inappropriate for Athletics Australia or anyone else to speculate about the specific details or pre-empt any outcome,” Bromley said in a statement on Friday.
“However what we can say is that learning about this adverse analytical finding was both extremely concerning and completely out of the blue, and we will support Sport Integrity Australia who are leading the investigation into the matter.
“Our primary consideration right now is that the appropriate process is followed and that it is not undermined by inappropriate speculation.
“The welfare of our athletes remains critical through this process, and we will continue to do all that is appropriate to ensure both Peter and other athletes, coaches and support staff are provided with the necessary support.”
Who is Peter Bol?
The 28-year-old shot to prominence when finishing fourth in the final of the 800m at the Tokyo Olympics.
Earlier, Bol had won admirers by leading the whole way to claim victory in the semi final at the Games.
Last year, at the Commonwealth Games, Bol came away with the silver medal in the 800m.
As a child, Bol and his family fled war-torn Sudan, eventually settling in Perth by way of Toowoomba.