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Bhubaneswar, July 8: Rupanwita Panda, the in-charge of the SAI hostel and Budhia’s coach, said Friday that the child runner, who had left the sports hostel for summer vacation in May, had been asked to join the coaching camp June 4, but he did not.
“When he did not meet the date, I wrote a letter to Budhia June 23 asking him to return to the sports hostel within a week. As I did not get a reply to my letter that I had sent through post, I wrote another letter and this time entrusted the task of handing it over to Budhia at Salia Sahi to four coaches of the sports hostel. But the coaches did not find Budhia in his house. His sister told the coaches that he has gone to the village and will return within four days. But till date, he has not reported to me,” she Panda.
Budhia Singh’s neighbours said the boy and his mother were not seen in the slum for the last one month. Budhia had earlier expressed his disappointment and stated that the hostel does not have a coach who can provide him proper training for participating in marathons.
Meanwhile, Budhia’s school principal has said that he had submitted a leave application June 25 seeking a month’s absence from school. The reason for the leave, however, remains unclear.
Budhia’s absence from the sports hostel has renewed questions about facilities offered at the sports hostel. The sports secretary said, “This is not a lockup. If one feels that he/she can get better training outside this hostel, he/she may go. We cannot force anyone to stay.”
Budhia had burst into limelight after he set a new Limca record by successfully running a marathon of 65 km from Puri to Bhubaneswar in seven hours in May 2006. The state government had provided him accommodation in the sports hostel after several child rights activists alleged exploitation of the boy.
With agencies inputs
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