Bhubaneswar, Nov 25 – Everyone has heard of child marathoner Budhia Singh. But another youngster from Orissa – a five-year-old girl who ran a distance of 58 km in eight hours and wants to become a professional athlete – finds her dreams dying out.
The family of Rajeswari Das, a Class 3 student from Kuansh village in Bhadrak district, about 130 km from here, doesn’t have the means to buy the food, shoes and clothes so essential for her training.
She came into the limelight after running a distance of about 40 km on Oct 18, 2006 in five-and-a-half hours. Subsequently she claims to have run 58 km from Bhadrak to the Biraja Temple in Jajpur March 11, 2007 in eight hours in front of hundreds of local residents.’I am very keen on participating in marathons and am planning to run from Bhadrak to the Khirochora Gopinath Temple in Balasore – a distance of 80 km – in the near future,’ Rajeswari said.The little girl practises everyday at the local sports stadium.’But financial problems have come my way. My father is unable to provide me with the materials that a marathoner needs,’ she said.
Although the local and national media have reported on Rajeswari’s feat, the state government has not taken any step to encourage her, her father and coach Baikunthanath Das said.Das, a national level volleyball player, is working as a havaldar in the Reserve Police Force.’I have to take care of a family of six with my meagre income. I take home around Rs.4,000 per month as salary. I am barely able to provide my daughter with nutritious food, shoes, and clothes,’ he said.In June this year, then president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam wrote to the state government, asking it to provide Rajeswari all necessary help but nothing has been done as yet, Das said.
Budhia Singh, another child marathoner, has been admitted to a hostel by the state government, which is bearing all his expenses and providing him free education.The government felicitated Singh after his 65 km run from Puri to Bhubaneswar in 2005. The Limca Book of Records also recorded his feat May 2, 2006.