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Last Updated: Monday, 8 May 2006, 15:51 GMT 16:51 UK
Health fears ground marathon tot
By Sandeep Sahu
BBC News, Bhubaneswar

Budhia Singh has earned a place in the record books

An Indian boy aged four will not be allowed to run long distances any more because of health fears, officials say.

Orissa state welfare minister Pramila Mullick said the government would be blamed if Budhia Singh suffered harm.

The announcement came after doctors found the boy had "high blood pressure and cardiological stress".

Budhia, who ran 65km (40 miles) in just seven hours last week, was given the check-up after allegations he had been exploited - claims his coach denies.

Why did they not allow Budhia's personal physician to be present when they were conducting the tests?
Coach Biranchi Das

Budhia's run last week earned him a place in the Limca Book of Records, the Indian equivalent of Guinness World Records.

But the medical board that examined Budhia afterwards said on Monday it had found serious disorders in his body.

"If something happens to him tomorrow, it is the state government that would be held responsible," Mrs Mullick, the state's women and child welfare minister, said after the doctors reported their findings.


The interim report from the medics said the boy's "protein catabolism rate is high and he is under cardiological stress, probably resulting from long-distance runs".

It is up to the state government to decide whether to allow Budhia to keep running long distances
Dr Sugata Kar

"If he continues to run, it may aggravate his condition and result in renal failure."

The report also called for an MRI scan to establish whether or not there was damage to the boy's L4 vertebra.

It recommended that Budhia be nurtured "in a scientific manner" under the tutelage of a "modern and qualified coach" and with proper medical supervision at a recognised sports institute.

Budhia's coach and mentor, Biranchi Das, rejected the report, calling it "doctored" and questioning its impartiality.

"Why did they not allow Budhia's personal physician, Dr Siddhartha Mohanty, to be present when they were conducting the tests and finalising the report?" he asked.

The head of the five-member panel of doctors that examined Budhia said they had given professional advice.

"Now, it is up to the state government to decide whether to allow Budhia to keep running long distances," Dr Sugata Kar said.


The legal battle over Budhia's welfare began after he came to media attention last year.

Welfare Minister Pramila Mullick has long opposed what she calls the "physical exploitation" of the boy by his coach for financial gain.

The medical board was constituted on the basis of a complaint filed by the district Child Welfare Committee, a statutory body under the state's Women and Child Welfare department that she heads.

Budhia's coach has filed a defamation case against her for having described him as a "madari" (a man who makes his living by making a monkey dance).

He says he rescued the little boy from poverty after his mother sold him for 800 rupees ($18).

Budhia is to feature in an "observational documentary" being shot by UK-based film company Touch Productions. The company denied reports it had postponed a shoot in London, saying filming was taking place in India.

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