Kambala jockey Srinivas Gowda, who created a social media storm after his record-setting performance in a traditional buffalo race, has refused to undergo trials at the SAI Centre in Bengaluru.
Gowda was compared to Olympic sprint legend Usain Bolt after video clips of him running a distance of 100 meters in just 9.55 seconds evoked a social media frenzy, prompting Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju to ask SAI top coaches to conduct trials.
But, according to the SAI sources, Gowda has declined to take part in the trials.
“He (Gowda) has reached Bengaluru today to meet the Chief Minister. A team from SAI, Bengaluru is in CM’s office to talk to him and take him to the SAI centre. But apparently, he is not interested. We have also learned that he is suffering from an injury,” the source told PTI.
Gowda, a construction worker from Moodabidri, took just 13.62 seconds to run a distance of 145m, covering the first 100m in 9.55 seconds, at the Kambala at Aikala village near Mangaluru, prompting some on social media to compare him with Bolt, whose 100m world record is 9.58 seconds.
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor and business tycoon Anand Mahindra tweeted to ask Sports Ministry and Athletics Federation of India to take Gowda under its wings while some athletics experts were not amused at the feat of Gowda.
Days after calling Gowda for trials, the Sports Minister on Monday said one cannot compare performances in Olympic sports with traditional sports.
He, however, said the government will give opportunities to any talent that is brought to its notice.
“Media can’t control things with people writing anything in social media these days. If any talent comes to our notice we will give him a platform, an opportunity,” Rijiju said after the launch of Khelo India University Games’ official anthem at his residence here.
“The standard of Olympics and world championships is very high. People who play traditional sports, you can’t suddenly compare them with international champions unless we don’t assess them officially, check their records.
“If anyone can send an amateur video, we can’t accept it. We want to give it an official trial. We will take a proper trial under top coaches and if there is talent, if there is potential to go the distance, then we will bring them in the national camp,” he added.
Kambala is an annual race held in Karnataka where people sprint 142m through paddy fields with buffalo. During the race, the racers try to bring the buffaloes under control by holding their reins tight and beating them up, making it amply clear that the animal plays an equally important role in achieving the timing.
Traditionally, it is sponsored by local Tuluva landlords and households in the coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi.