Srinivasa Gowda, a Kambala jockey from Moodabidri in Karnataka, has been called for trials by the Sports Ministry after he set a new record as the fastest runner in the history of the traditional sport of the coastal region.
“I’ll call Karnataka’s Srinivasa Gowda for trials by top SAI Coaches. There’s lack of knowledge in masses about the standards of Olympics especially in athletics where ultimate human strength & endurance are surpassed. I’ll ensure that no talents in India are left out untested,” tweeted Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Saturday.
One of the tweets read: “Here’s India’s very own USAIN BOLT..Mr. Srinivasa Gowda from Karnataka who ran a 100m buffalo race (Kambala) in merely 9.55 seconds whereas Usain Bolt’s world record is 9.58 seconds. Thank you @KirenRijiju Sir for acknowledging such talent!”
Shashi Tharoor had earlier tweeted: “Faster Than Usain Bolt? Karnataka Man Running With Buffaloes Covers 100 Metres in Just 9.55 Seconds. I urge the Athletics Association of India to take this man under their wing & make an Olympic champion of him. Wonder how many hidden talents we have!”
The 28-year-old is a construction worker and took just 13.62 seconds to cover a distance of 145 metres at the Kambala at Aikala village about 30 kilometres from Mangaluru.
Srinivasa took just 9.55 seconds to run a distance of 100 metres and netizens were quick to point out that he was faster that eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt. Bolt currently holds the world record in the 100-metre race at 9.58 seconds in 2009.
Kambala is an annual race held in Karnataka where people sprint 142m through paddy fields with buffalo. Traditionally, it is sponsored by local Tuluva landlords and households in the coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi.