‘Wonder boy’ Budhia desperate to leave sports hostel

Bhubaneswar: Two days after ‘Duronto’ – a Bollywood film on wonder boy Budhia Singh, who had earned a place in the Limca Book of records in 2006 as the world’s youngest marathon runner – won the Best Children’s Film at the National Film Awards, the boy who was the toast of the world at one time has expressed a desire to leave the Sports Hostel here since it does not have the facilities for his proper training.

Budhia, it may be recalled, had stunned the world in 2006 by running non-stop from Bhubaneswar to Puri covering the 65-kilometer distance in seven hours and two minutes flat.

According to reports, Budhia, now studying DAV Chandrashekharpur on a government scholarship and staying at the Sports Hostel, is desperate to leave the hostel as he is not getting the facilities promised to him by the state government earlier.

Speaking to OTV, he said, “I want to be trained under a good coach and want to go outside to train with other players. Overall, I want a good training”.

His mother Sukanti Singh, a daily wage worker, also alleged that her son, who had run 65 kilometers from Bhubaneswar to Puri, is not getting any support and guidance now to fulfill his dream of becoming a world class runner.

“He says he is facing a lot of problems in hostel like not getting good food among other things. He has told me several times that he would leave the hostel if proper arrangements are not given to him,” Sukanti Singh said.

Reacting to such allegations, Sports and Youth Services minister Sudam Marandi said, “I have not come across any such complaints. We had kept him in the sports hostel to groom him and hone his skills to make him a better athlete. He has been getting all the facilities available in the Kalinga Stadium like others inmates”.

“He is not ready for long distance running yet. Once he attains that age, he will naturally participate in the events as he is known for running long distances in a short time,” said Ananta Kishore Jena, director of Sports and Youths Affairs Department.

But Odisha Judo Association secretary Gitanjali Panda, the widow of Budhia’s mentor and coach Biranach Das, said, “As Budhia is now 15 years old, he can participate in competitions. If his coach is consulted in this matter, he can tell better about it”.