If Budhia runs a marathon his health can be ruined forever
Some are calling it child abuse and I am inclined to agree. The fact is that six year old Budhia who ran a marathon last year at the age of five and who fainted before he could complete it – is being abused. Just that his guardian-cum-coach, Biranchi Das doesn’t know it or pretends he doesn’t. After all pots of money is being made from the kid – from public appearances and music videos. Not to mention the publicity that he has generated since last year.
In India, making children work for their upkeep or making money from their earnings is not considered a crime, not in the eyes of society. And in this case, it wasn’t work in the true sense because the boy was being made a celebrity. Who doesn’t care to become famous?
Well…children. They don’t really care and they don’t really understand. A six year old for gods sake!
Thankfully, the walkathon/marathon planned for yesterday, the sixth of June has been banned by the cops. Guess what the poor six-year old was expected to do? Walk/run from Bhubaneswar in Orissa and finish in Calcutta, in West Bengal – an eleven day walk covering 500 kms in temperatures over 40 degrees!
And all this for what? Das, the coach wants the kid to qualify for the 2016 Olympics! The mother, Sukanti Singh is all for putting her son through this. Her point of view? She wants to know where the government was when they were all starving! In her words as quoted in Dailyindia:
Where were they when Budhia was starving? Has the committee ever thought of giving food and shelter to us? If being a mother, I am not feeling pained, then who are they to put such a ban?
This from a mother who had sold him once. Well, that it is how it is. If parents feel they own the kids, this is what they are going to do. And never mind if doctors have warned that the excessive running might cause an early onset of osteo-arthritis, which could make the child a cripple in later years. The child might also suffer from cardiomegaly (enlargement of the heart) and its attendant complications.
The two most important differences (between children and adults) to keep in mind in regard to long distance running are heat (both accumulation and dissipation) and aerobic capacity…children often accumulate heat faster than adults. The combination of exercise, warm environmental temperatures, and a higher metabolic rate in children causes them to produce more heat than adults. It has been reported that children also have fewer sweat glands than adults and do not cool themselves as efficiently. These two factors combined put children at greater risk of heat illness while exercising.
Maximum running distances for children of different ages are as follows:
Below the age of 9 – 1.5 miles
From the ages of 9 to 11 – 3.2 miles
From the ages of 12 to 14 – 6.4 miles
From the ages of 15 to 16 – 13.1 miles
At age 17 – 19.2 miles
At age 18 – Marathon: 26.2 miles
During training a child should not run more than twice the competition distance…but god knows how much practice they have been putting Budhia through. If he was expected to cover a distance of 500 kms in 11 days, this works out to over 45 kms a day, and therefore during his practice sessions he must have been forced to run at least that much? And do his parents have any idea of the diet that he requires? Last year when doctors examined Budhia, he was found to be undernourished.
And even if a child runs a reasonable distance as per the health requirements and eats a proper diet, there remains the question of burnout. Today, children in the race to become high achievers (specially sports people) ruin their bodies. All in the quest for celebrity and money. But at least they may be old enough to know what they doing. Budhia doesn’t.
(Photo credits: Dailymail)