Monday, May 15, 2006

BORN TO RUN?

There was surprise and awe in the deeds of a four year old. Here is Buddhia Singh who at only four years can run for kilometers. The fact that he hails from Orissa is more cause for cheer. There are very few sportspersons from this state. In cricket we had SS Das and Debashish Mohanty and in hockey there are Dilip Tirkey and others. But Buddhia has the potential to become the biggest athlete from the state and the country. Well, almost.


Buddhia comes from a very poor family, so poor that at one point his mother contemplated selling him for mere Rs.800 (less than US $20). In comes Biranchi, a Judo coach who takes with him Buddhia. The little wonder is ever since with Biranchi.


Even as Biranchi was showing to the world the potential of his protégé, there were calls that the child was exploited. A few Public Interest Litigations were also filed in the Courts, ostensibly to protect Buddhia. Some doctors alleged that the diet given to Buddhia and the training methods adopted by Biranchi were causing great damage to the frail Buddhia.


A week ago, Buddhia was to run a distance of 70 kilometers in an attempt to set a record. But the heat of May took its toll and after a grueling 65 kilometers, the boy had to be taken away for medical treatment. As the media and the coach were rejoicing over the record, Buddhia was taken away for a medical check-up after instructions from the state government. A team of doctors came up with the opinion that the running could cause severe damage to the body of Buddhia. The government warned of action against the coach.


The coach dismisses all the allegations saying that they are a part of a larger conspiracy. Now, what does the future hold for Buddhia? Is he going to disappear after promising a lot ? What do the experts and the government plan to ensure a good future for Buddhia?

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