For his armies of cheering fans in India's slums（在印度贫民窟中众多兴奋的仰慕者看来）， he is a small but nimble miracle， destined to run his way into history as one of the world's greatest athletes.
Budhia Singh， a four-year-old urchin， can complete a 26-mile marathon faster than many runners who are twice his height and many times his age.
But just as fame and fortune beckon - and a trip to Britain to star in a television documentary（电视记录片） - doctors who have examined the child phenomenon have laid down an early finishing line to his career（提前为其运动生涯划上了句号）。
Alarmed at television footage of him collapsing in the final stages of a record-breaking 43-mile run， Indian health officials ordered police to take him into hospital on Friday for tests to see if the intense exercise was damaging his young body.
Results delivered yesterday confirmed those fears - with doctors warning that he will soon be a physical wreck.
"Making a child this age run marathons on a regular basis will lead to him being physically burnt out in a few years"， said Dr Manabendra Bhattacharya of the Sports Authority of India， who discovered that Budhia had abnormally high pulse and blood pressure readings. "It's not desirable to submit such a young body to so much stress and strain. Those who think they're doing the child a service by promoting him to run such long distances are causing him terrible damage."
Budhia - hailed as the world's youngest marathon runner， although he has no birth certificate to prove his age - is now the subject of a legal wrangle between the state authorities and his coach， who stands accused of exploiting and maltreating the boy.
The controversy is being played out amid huge media interest in the boy's story， a tale of rags to riches that has transfixed the Indian public. The son of an illiterate dishwasher mother and an alcoholic beggar father， Budhia was sold for 800 rupees （￡10） to a street hawker after his father died three years ago.
His physical stamina was spotted by a judo coach， Biranchi Das， who caught him bullying another child near his club one day and ordered him to him run round an athletics track as a punishment. When he returned five hours later， expecting the child to be long gone， he found him still doing laps.
Since then Mr Das， who claims to have legally adopted him， has been training him up， feeding him a high-protein diet of meat， eggs， milk and soya beans. He runs up to 20 miles every second day， and has taken part in six big races， bringing offers of lucrative sponsorship deals， according to Mr Das.
But his achievements have been less well received by some government officials， who are anxious to counter India's image as a country that turns a blind eye to child exploitation. Pramila Malik， a minister of state for women and child welfare， accused Mr Das of turning the boy into "a performing monkey".
Mr Das， 39， said that he was making no money out of Budhia and insisted he only had the child's interests at heart. "I have a doctor check on him every few days and he's fine，" he said.
He has the backing of Budhia's mother， Sukanti Singh， 35， and her son is likewise unconcerned. "I love running， I never get tired，" he said.
Budhia is due to fly to London on May 15 at the behest of British-based Touch Productions， which is making a documentary about him for Five and the Discovery Channel. Touch says that it is paying the expenses of the trip but that no fee is being paid to the boy， his mother or carers.
British experts sided with Dr Bhattacharya. Richard Godfrey， a sports science lecturer and former chief physiologist at the British Olympic Medical Centre， said： "This lad will probably stop growing soon because the impact from his running will have damaged the ends of his bones."
Malcolm Brinkworth， the executive producer of Touch Productions， stressed that the health concerns would be raised. "We are making an objective documentary， looking very carefully at the issues involved. We're not trying to be part of any process of exploiting this child，" he said.