Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government on Friday said child marathon runner Budhia Singh was not missing and that he will return to state capital Bhubaneswar's SAI hostel in four days.
The government, however, said he was free to go anywhere if he is not ready to stay in the hostel.
Budhia and his mother Sukanti Singh had earlier complained about his training as well as food at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) hostel.
"Budhia Singh's mother has already informed us that they are in Nayagarh. We are expecting him to return to the sports hostel in two to four days," said Sports and Youth Affairs Secretary Saswat Mishra.
"If they think they are not getting proper training and adequate food, they can leave the hostel. They are free... they can go," said Mishra.
Wonder kid Budhia Singh, who ran 65 km between Puri and Bhubaneswar in 2006 at the age of four and secured a place in the Limca Book of Records, did not return to the sports hostel after summer vacation last month.
He studies in Class IX in the DAV English Medium School here.
"Besides Budhia, eight other sportspersons have not returned. They used to come back to the hostel within a fortnight of reopening of the SAI hostel at the Kalinga Stadium here," said the officer.
Budhia's coach Rupanita Panda said she had written two letters to Budhia's mother, who stays in Saliasahi slum of Bhubaneswar, last month.
"As Budhia did not return and even remained absent from school, we sent letters to his house. We also visited his house. But there has been no word on his whereabouts," she said.
"His sister told the coaches that Budhia had gone to his village and will return within four days. But till date, he has not reported to me," she said.
IANS had earlier reported that Budhia was desperate to leave the sports hostel.
"I need a private coach to realise my dreams. While I am trained for the marathon, I am being given training to compete in 100-200 metre races," Budhia had told IANS.
His mother had the same complaint against the state government's sports authorities.
"There is no nutritious food for my son at the sports hostel. My son has been complaining to me that he does not want to stay. If someone wants to train my son, then I will ask him to leave the hostel," Sukanti Singh had told IANS.