Former coach of marathon wonder kid shot dead

April 13th, 2008 - 11:12 pm ICT by admin  

(Lead)

Bhubaneswar, April 13 (IANS) Unidentified gunmen Sunday shot dead Biranchi Das, the controversial former coach of six-year-old marathon sensation Budhia Singh, in Orissa. The assailants on motorcycles shot four to five rounds of bullets at Das near the judo hall that he runs here, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police Sarat Sahoo told IANS.

“We still do not know the reason behind the killing. We are investigating the matter,” Sahoo said.

Although Das faced criticism from many quarters, he was simultaneously credited with rescuing Budhia from a slum and making him a running sensation.

Budhia’s impoverished mother had sold him to a man for a paltry sum of Rs.800 to work as a labourer. But Das rescued Budhia and adopted him, and trained him to become a marathon sensation.

Budhia, under Das’ tutelage, created a record in May 2006 by running 65 km from Puri to Bhubaneswar in seven hours. The Limca Book of Records has acknowledged his feat.

But many accused Das of exploiting the child. Sukanti Singh, mother of Bhudia, alleged that Das was using the boy for his personal gain and abusing him physically and mentally.

Singh, in August last year, lodged a complaint with the police and Das was arrested, and later released.

The state government then put Budhia in a government sports hostel and appointed a new coach for him.

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