Teenage hammer thrower Gaurav Bhardwaj's ambition of winning a World Youth Championships ticket, beginning July 6 in Lille, France, got scuttled.
It's not that he fell short of the qualifying standard of 62m for the event during the 8th Youth National Athletics Championships held in Ranchi from May 27-29, but failed the in-competition dope test.
A top Uttar Pradesh athletics official, the state Gaurav had representing in the Ranchi meet, confirmed the development, and added it was unfortunate that a promising athlete got caught in the doping net.
During the Ranchi competition, Gaurav recorded a throw of 63.16m — his season's best. However, his throw won him silver as the gold medal was won by teammate Ali Ahmed, who recorded 63.32m. The bronze in the competition was won by another teammate, Rajendra Tripathi who threw 61.53m.
A national junior coach said that going by Gaurav's performance, he was well within the qualifying mark of the World meet and was being considered for the India team as the top two's throws were very close. "Now, however, the game is over for Gaurav," the coach said from Ranchi.
Gaurav, who trains at the government-run sports hostel in Meerut, had been a prominent figure in age group category in the past few years. However, Ranchi proved to be his nemesis.
In Ranchi, the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) had collected 21 in-competition urine samples, including five in the female category. So far Gaurav is the only athlete who failed the test.
What is more alarming is that the teenager tested positive for nandrolone - an anabolic steroid. This drug has been in the news recently as several famous athletes have been banned after failing their tests.
Gaurav has been provisionally suspended, pending hearing. He is yet to approach for his B samples test.