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Budhia gets new coach, dreams for Olympics


Amiya Pani,CNN-IBN
Sep 22, 2007 at 12:46pm IST

New Delhi: Marathon kid Budhia Singh has got a new coach and a hostel on Friday. It's a major leap forward for the child born in a Bhubaneswar slum.

After months of confusion, Budhia Singh is all set to chart out a new course in life. On Friday, he got a new coach and admission to the government-run sports hostel in Bhubaneswar.

The minimum age for admission to the hostel is 12 but an exception was made for this five-year-old marathon runner.

"I will practice and get ready for the Olympics one day," says Budhia.

Budhia’s mother Sukanti Singh says, " I am very happy with the government's decision. He will train at the sports hostel with a new coach and also go to school.”

It was the famous run from Puri to Bhubaneswar in the summer of 2006 that got the child from a slum both fame and a place in the record books.

But he has not been very active ever since he was stopped June 2006 from participating in a 500-km walkathon from Bhubaneswar to Kolkata.

Budhia's new coach Arun Kumar Das says he is yet to decide whether Budhia will eventually prove to be a good distance runner.

"We have a long term plan for Budhia. We will do all types of tests and then decide which running discipline will suite him best," says Arun Kumar Das.

Das, who has trained national sprint champions Rachita Panda and Anuradha Biswal, has official sanction to help Budhia achieve his dreams.

Sadly, his former coach Biranchi Das, who claims to have taught him to dream in the first place, is now fending off allegations that he maltreated and exploited the child.

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