Budhia Running on Faith

Budhia Singh with his running gear

A gem of a kid at the age of just 4, now living in oblivion; that is the story of Budhia Singh. Budhia Singh – Born to Run is being seen as a movie which will quite likely bring the marathon wonder kid back to spotlight.

Budhia Singh off late has been in headlines firstly for going missing from his hostel and now everyone is talking of the marathon runner who struck a chord with a generation courtesy Budhia Singh – Born to run. The film is soon to hit theatres and the wonder kid at 14 feels the movie will give him that much needed push. He still feels that he deserves to make it to the Olympics someday. He recalls how his famed mentor Biranchi Das urged him to go for gold.

Speaking to media recently Budhia has said that he is desperately hoping a Bollywood biopic will turn the spotlight back on him. Even Budhia is desperate to escape the dull and boring life of living in oblivion.

Soon after he burst into the limelight in 2006 and entered the Limca Book of Records by running 65 kms from Puri to Bhubaneswar, he became a victim of controversy shaped by elders.

Many alleged running long-distances amounted to child abuse and the Odisha government stepped in.

The authorities took Budhia away from coach Biranchi Das and enrolled him at the hostel of the state-run Kalinga Stadium Academy.

For over a decade now Budhia has run but he has not won. He is now in Class 9 but academics is not his strong point mediahouses quote teachers as saying.

He is now last in short-distance school races. Tragedy struck when Biranchi Das was murdered in 2008, robbing Budhia of his greatest mentor.

Sadly for Budhia it is a marathon running coach who is required not one who trains up sprinters.

The Odisha government says there is no way it can allow a 14-year-old to run a marathon.

Once adjudged the “Most loved Odiya”, Budia is hoping the feature film will bring him back to reckoning once again. The makers of “Budhia Singh – Born to Run” are equally optimistic.

Budhia’s tale in itself is a sad one. Born in 2002 to a poor family, his father dies soon after he’s born. Unable to care, Budhia’s mother Sukanti sends her elder two daughters to work and sells Budhia to a street peddler for just Rs 800.

It was Biranchi Das, a judo trainer who rescued the kid and bought him back. To make a foul mouthed Budhia stop cursing, he is told to run around the judo school for as long as Biranchi thinks necessary. Biranchi gets caught up in work when he returns five hours later Budhia is still running. He hits on the plan of making Budhia a professional marathon runner. And then is when they hit a jackpot.

At the age of three, Budhia runs several half-marathons and progresses to full marathons by the age of four.

Budhia is taken away for a medical examination and the reports state that Budhia’s body has suffered damage from running. Biranchi claims the reports are “doctored” and biased, but Budhia is banned from running any further marathons.

Biranchi is briefly arrested. Later he is murdered.

One can only hope that Budhia Singh runs once again to bring laurels to himself and his true blue mentor Biranchi Das.


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