Budhia Singh’s coach murdered

Posted on April 14, 2008 by

Coach of Indian Forest Gump shot

News tip from Arun Bhardwaij


Coach of India’s six-year-old ‘Forrest Gump’ shot dead

NEW DELHI (AFP) — The controversial former coach of a six-year-old Indian distance runner has been shot dead by an unidentified gunman, reports said.

Biranchi Das, whose handling of Budhia Singh caused widespread concern, died shortly after the attack in the eastern state of Orissa, the Press Trust of India said late on Sunday.

“Das was shot twice by a gunman and he died before he could be taken to hospital,” said deputy police commissioner Amitabh Thakur said in state capital Bhubaneswar.

No possible motive was given for the attack on Das, who was sacked as Budhia’s coach last year and arrested after the boy accused him of torture.

Das had been fighting a running battle with local authorities who had banned Budhia from running, ruining the coach’s hopes of grooming the boy into an Olympic star.

In May 2006 Singh, dubbed India’s “Forrest Gump,” ran 65 kilometres (26 miles) or one-and-a-half marathons, stunning hundreds of onlookers and drawing accusations of exploitation.

Budhia had also taken part in the Delhi half-marathon and other races across India. Orissa authorities eventually banned him from long distance races without clearance from a team of doctors.

Das was sacked as Budhia’s coach last year following personal differences with the prodigy’s mother. He was arrested after the boy told TV channels he had been beaten and locked in a room without food for two days.

Das discovered Budhia in a judo class he was teaching. The boy had been enrolled by his surrogate father, who bought him for 20 dollars after his widowed mother was unable to provide care.

Posted in: Asia, India