Falling to the lure of gaining that edge over others has, time and again, consumed young athletes. So, when schoolchildren indulge in doping, it is unfortunate, but not surprising.
"Youngsters keep taking steroids and never tell their coaches," says boxer Vikas Krishan, deflecting the criticism off coaches, somewhat.
"Young athletes come from villages and small towns, where they have no knowledge of banned substances. They are hungry to perform. I've heard stories of some of them being lured by seniors to take drugs or energy drinks to boost their power," says India's medal hope at the London Olympics.
Though Vikas doesn't buy the logic that youngsters are naïve after the age of 14, fellow boxer Jai Bhagwan feels, it's the lack of knowledge that leads to such fiascos.
"We are guided by the Sports Authority of India, and our drinks or supplements are recommended by it. But school-going kids have no one to guide them," says the Commonwealth Boxing bronze-medallist.
"Also, supplements keep changing every other day. This makes it difficult for even the coaches to keep track of the salts in the supplements."
But even Jai Bhagwan believes the glamour associated with sports these days has its effect on young minds.
"Even juniors dream big these days, and sometimes get misguided."
Olympics probable, swimmer Richa Mishra, who is "shocked" by the news of doping among school-going athletes says, "The pressure of performance can sometimes get the better of youngsters.
"(But) taking banned substances will only ruin your prospects," says the Delhi girl.
"Mehnat se badhiya koi steroid nahi (there's no better steroid than hard work)," concludes Vikas, the Asian Games gold-medallist.
Keep a check
Expressing concern over doping among teen athletes, he said, "It's good that NADA is keeping a check on dope offenders at the school level. Efforts are being made to identify particular sports, if any, where doping is more prevalent."