The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Gone with the run: Budhia’s London jaunt

Bhubaneswar, May 8: From one medical test to another is all the running Budhia Singh is likely to do for some time.

After a panel of doctors advised against letting the little boy take part in marathons, a UK-based production house has decided to postpone Budhia’s trip to London to shoot a documentary. The Orissa government, too, is thinking about banning Budhia from running long distance.

Budhia was to fly to London on May 15 with coach Biranchi Das for the documentary being made by Touch Productions for Discovery Channel and Five.

Malcolm Brinkworth, the creative director of Touch Productions, said in an email to The Telegraph: “Budhia will hopefully be coming to London sometime in the future... Yet, he seems to be rather busy at the moment.”

However, shooting for the film ' Brinkworth described it as an “observational one following events” ' continued in and around Bhubaneswar today.

A panel of doctors, who prepared a 10-page report after conducting a battery of tests on Budhia, found his serum urea, alkaline phosphatase and potassium levels very high.

“It is clear from the findings that Budhia’s protein catabolism is more and he is under cardiological stress probably resulting from long-distance running. The conditions may be aggravated if the running continues and it might even result in renal failure,” the panel said.

The doctors recommended further medical examination at the Sports Authority of India in Calcutta, besides a host of other tests, including a dope test, as they suspect Budhia’s coach may have given him steroids.

The report said the boy, said to be four years old, appears “undernourished with anaemia” and under “severe cardiological stress”.

State women and child development minister Pramila Mallick, who was given the report today, said the boy can be refrained from running long distance under the Juvenile Justice (Care) and Protection of Children Act, 2002. “I will also consult chief minister Naveen Patnaik on the subject,” she said.

The state chief secretary will chair an emergency meeting on Budhia tomorrow.

Das, the boy’s coach, and mother Sukanti Singh are defiant. “It (the medical report) has been manipulated to obstruct Budhia’s growth. He would definitely run for Guinness World Records and Olympics,” Das said as he took his prot'g' to a felicitation ceremony organised by the Orissa High Court Bar Association in Cuttack this morning.

But Mallick said her department was not being vindictive and was only concerned about the child’s health. “If necessary, we would prevent him from going abroad if he is taken there for running,” she said.

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