Kambala runner Srinivas Gowda from Moodbidri in Dakshina Kannada district

Kambala runner Srinivas Gowda from Moodbidri in Dakshina Kannada district   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

He covered 142.5 m in 13.62 seconds in recent event

The Sports Authority of India will devise a suitable course for Kambala runner Srinivas Gowda (28) from Moodbidri in Dakshina Kannada district, whose feat of covering 142.5 m Kambala (traditional buffalo slush track race of Karnataka coast) in 13.62 seconds has gone viral on social media.

SAI Director General (@DGSAI) made the announcement while responding to congratulatory tweets by Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra and Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju on Saturday. The official said he had directed the Bengaluru Regional Director to get in touch with Mr. Gowda and added SAI needed help in identifying many more such talents.

Replying to Mr. Mahindra’s tweet that either @KirenRijiju provide him training as a 100 m sprinter or we get Kambala to become an Olympic event on Saturday, Mr. Rijiju tweeted, “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 and endurance are surpassed. I’ll ensure that no talents in India is left out unattended.”

It was on February 1 that Mr. Gowda set the record at the Aikala-Bava Kambala near Moodbidri, the 10th Kambala event of the 2019-2020 season in Karnataka coast. Converting the feat to 100 m sprint, a few people claimed he broke the record of Ussain Bolt with 9.55 s as against latter’s 9.58 s.

Mr. Gowda is a native of Ashwathapura near Moodbidri and has been a Kambala jockey for a decade after getting trained at the Kambala Academy, Moodbidri.

Congratulating Mr. Gowda for his extraordinary achievement, Kambala Academy founder and convener K. Gunapala Kadamba told The Hindu the achievement cannot be compared to Olympics record as both the events are conducted in different set-ups. While Olympics sprints are judged in fractions of seconds, Kambala is yet to evolve such a practice.

Mr. Kadamba told The Hindu the finish time at the Kambala was accurately calculated through laser beams and electronic timers. However, it is not the same at the start point, where a similar technology is being evolved and is likely to be tested on February 22 at the Paivalike Kambala. Yet, international organisations were welcome to test the endurance of Kambala runners.

Mr. Gowda was trained in the first batch in 2011 and, since then, the Academy has trained about 60 runners. A couple of years ago, another senior runner Kolke Anand Irvathur had done 145 m in 13.58 s, Mr. Kadamba said.

Completing the run in record time is, however, a big achievement; they jockey at least three pairs of buffaloes in one event and would have run at least 22 times in a day, Mr. Kadamba noted.

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