Coach tries to get round ban on boy

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 May, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 May, 2006, 12:00am

Budhia Singh, the four-year-old long distance running prodigy at the centre of a controversy in his Indian state of Orissa, will undertake a marathon 560-kilometre walk to Calcutta.

Budhia's coach and mentor, Biranchi Das, who has been threatened with arrest if he makes the boy run long distances again, has decided to shift his base to another state.

'It seems the Orissa government will not stop harassing us,' Das said. 'I have already got offers from West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh [two neighbouring states of Orissa]. With Budhia I am going to leave Orissa for good, for either one of the two states to help him develop into an Olympian in a congenial atmosphere. I cannot let his life get ruined here.'

However, before they leave Orissa, next month Budhia is going to undertake the marathon walk from Puri to Calcutta. 'This will show his phenomenal power of endurance once again,' added Das.