Bhubaneswar, April 9: Despite having won many a heart and having taken both Odisha and the nation by storm for being a wonder kid owing to his amazing feat of running 65 km in one stretch at the tender age of four, Budhia Singh has faded into oblivion.
Budhia is now simply resting on his laurels, even though Hindi movie "Duronto" on his life carved a niche at the 63rd National Film Awards and was cited as the best children's film.
Budhia, who catapulted into the limelight after running a record-breaking 65 km from Puri to Bhubaneswar in 2006 in seven hours and two minutes and secured a place in the Limca Book of Records, is now lost in the streets of Odisha.
Budhia's life story is nothing short of a Hindi movie and saw the wonder kid gaining celebrity status, fall and then suddenly disappear.
Born to a poor family in 2002, Budhia was sold off by his mother to a vendor for Rs 800. He was later adopted by a judo coach, Biranchi Das, who spotted his talent and trained him for marathon running. It was under the guidance of Das that Budhia undertook his historic run.
But the rigorous training of the small child did not go down well with the Odisha government's child welfare department, which banned Budhia from running in marathons and sent him to the sports hostel in Bhubaneswar.
The boy however still aspires for an Olympics medal.
"I need a private coach to realise my dream. While I am trained for the marathon, I am being given training to compete for 100-200 metres races," Budhia told IANS.
The wonder kid, who is appearing for his Class 8 examination at DAV school in Chandrasekharpur, said he is practising for only one hour a day as he has to complete his studies.
His mother, Sukanti Singh, has also the same complaint against the state government's sports authority.
"There is no nutritious food for my son at the sports hostel. My son has been complaining to me that he does not want to stay in the hostel. If someone wants to train my son, then I would ask him to leave the hostel," Sukanti Singh told IANS.
Officials, however, negatived the criticism.
"We are providing all the facilities to the hostel inmates...so, there is no problem in providing coaching," sports director A.K. Jena told IANS.
"He is yet to attain the age for marathons for which he is known. He has to participate in the district and state levels for which he has to keep up the practice momentum. He has the potential and needs rigorous practice," he added.