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Bol bows out in opening round of 800m in Budapest

Updated: Aug 24, 2023

Peter Bol failed to qualify for the 800m final at the world athletics championships. Picture: Petr David Josek.

The most tumultuous year of Peter Bol's career has taken another dramatic turn with the Australian middle-distance star crashing out in the opening round of the men's 800m at the world athletics championships.

Seven months after being provisionally suspended for testing positive to EPO and three weeks after the anti-doping investigation was finally dropped by Sport Integrity Australia (SIA), an exonerated Bol returned to the global stage in Budapest.

The Tokyo Olympics finalist had only previously raced a handful of times in Europe this year - mostly in low-key meets.

He was well off the pace in his heat in Budapest on Tuesday night, crossing the line in fifth spot in one minute 46.75 seconds.

The 29-year-old refused to speak to media after the race; He remains at loggerheads with Athletics Australia.

Earlier in the day, Athletics Integrity Unit head David Howman said the Bol case had been handled disastrously and it was now the job of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to conduct a review of the EPO testing process that led to him initially recording a positive test.

"The worst thing that could happen is what happened in that case," Howman told reporters in Budapest.

"What we must do is to ensure that the process can be reviewed and re-conducted in a way that doesn't end up in such a disaster... it's not fair on the athlete. We accept that."

"What we have to do is ensure that WADA does its work in reviewing the whole process... when a B sample doesn't match an A there has to be a review of the individual case - there just has to be... and there needs to be an answer given which is satisfactory to the athlete who has gone through a process which has damaged his or her reputation."

When SIA officially ended their anti-doping case against Bol last month, they acknowledged that further scientific testing of his sample pointed to it being a false positive, meaning he should not have been charged or provisionally banned.

Fellow Australian Joseph Deng fared much better than his training partner Bol on Tuesday, finishing third in his heat in 1:45.48 to advance to the semis on Thursday (early Friday AEST).

"There were no nerves actually, I felt quite good," said Deng, who replaced Bol as the Australian record holder last month.

"I have never run in a world championships before - it was awesome."

Deng said it was awesome competing alongside his close friend Bol at a major championships.

"That is the first time representing Australia together so it's very good," he noted.


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