Medindia in the News...

Is young Budhia being made to run like a toy?

The Hindu, Friday, May 5, 2006
His talent should not be exploited at such a tender age
He needs to be saved from physical torture:
BHUBANESWAR: On April 14 Budhia Singh lost to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in a poll conducted by a private television channel to choose Orissa's most popular personality for 2005. But the four-year-old now seems to have gone ahead of Mr. Patnaik in terms of getting publicity by running 65 km in seven hours. Added to this is the controversy whether his talent was being exploited beyond limits by his coach Biranchi Das.
The authorities, who questioned the intentions of Mr. Das a few months ago, seem to have mellowed down after Budhia impressed those from the Limca Book of Records by running from Puri to Bhubaneswar on Tuesday. But Mr. Das still has many critics outside the establishment.
'There is no doubt that Budhia has stamina to run long distance, but his talent should not be exploited at such a tender age. At a time when he should enjoy his childhood, he is being made to run like a toy,'said Anuradha Mohanty, a child rights activist., a premier health portal providing a range of services to both healthcare consumers and medical professionals, has also raised a few issues about Budhia's future as a marathon boy.
'At the age of four are we not letting the child go too far with his activity? Should not his coach be questioned? Should not the media use some degree of discretion before letting this whole thing go out of hand,' the portal asked in an article titled Save Budhia - The Indian Wonder Kid on Thursday.
'It is true that the future of Indian sports is largely dependent on kids like Budhia. While it is important to encourage kids such as this young star who has made it to the headlines, it is equally important to understand that we should not be killing them with our enthusiasm. Budhia needs to be saved from this physical torture if you want him to be our future star. We hope someone is listening. But, why are the people who work against child cruelty not speaking out?' the portal said. But Mr. Das is upset over the criticism. 'I have not committed any crime by spotting Budhia's talent and helping him run long distances. I am not putting any kind of pressure on him. He is running on his own,'he said.
'I am ready to face those who are questioning my work. Budhia has the stamina to run longer distance and I will continue to be with him till he achieves greater [records],' Mr. Das told The Hindu . Budhia, who is already enjoying celebrity status in the State, is scheduled to leave for London later this month for the shooting of a documentary on his running prowess.
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