Eventsnow Blog

28th Feb, 2020

India’s Usain Bolt - Srinivas Gowda

Srinivas Gowda has come a long way very far, from running with buffaloes on the Karnataka coast to walking up the steps of the Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru to meet the chief minister. Combined with catchy headlines comparing him to Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, the power of social media has helped catapult Srinivas Gowda from muddy Kambala fields to the forefront of national attention.

Kambala, a famous buffalo racing event in Karnataka Coast, was banned by the Supreme Court in 2014 on the grounds of animal cruelty after critics alleged that racing fields while whipping caused a lot of stress and animal injury. In 2017, the sport was permitted again, and last month a video of Srinivas Gowda running at breakneck speed alongside his pair of buffaloes was widely spread on the Web. During the traditional race on a paddy field at Mangalore's Kadri, the video seemed to show him running 142.5 meters in 13.62 seconds, a performance which drew comparisons with Usain Bolt himself. Political leaders tweeted about his ability and the Sports Authority of India's Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju also promised trials and coaching.

Media attention to the young racer has worked wonders. Srinivas Gowda after running alongside his buffaloes on the muddy fields, dropped by the Vidhana Soudha on Monday to be congratulated by BS Yediyurappa, the chief minister.

Srinivas Gowda had told NDTV, "I'm very happy. I have been called by the chief minister to meet him. I'm very pleased with this Kambala recognition. I have been teaching myself to run in the mud since I was young. If the buffaloes were running faster, then I would have run faster than this. The main role is the one we run alongside the buffaloes. The buffalo needs to be trained to run faster, too.”

The 28-year-old earned an Rs 3 lakh cheque. He still has his feet firmly set on the muddy domestic lands, however, and is in no rush to move them onto an athletic course. As NDTV sought a reaction from Srinivas Gowda to the Indian Sports Authority's offer of trials and formal training, he said, The Kambala continues for another month. Instead, I need the time of a month. We need to run 35 times over 142 metres. It's rough and tiring and we need some rest. I'll make a decision afterwards.” But with the Olympics in Tokyo coming up in July, Gowda respectfully declined an invitation from India's sports minister to try it out at India's Bangalore Sports Authority. Gowda, told the media, "I'm not going to be taking part in trials at India's Sports Authority. I want to do more in Kambala. The Kambala and the track events are different, and those who did well in one cannot succeed in the other.


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