Kambala is an annual buffalo race held in the southwestern Indian state of Karnataka. Traditionally, it is sponsored by local Tuluva landlords and households in the coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi of Karnataka and Kasaragod of Kerala, a region collectively known as Tulu Nadu.
Kambala has hit national headlines recently after Srinivas Gowda sprinted 100 metres in just 9 minutes 55 seconds. World champion Usain Bolt has taken 9.58 seconds to reach 100 metres to crown gold medal in Olympics.
Soon after Gowda turned down Bolt’s world record, he became an instant sensation across the country.
After News18 Senior Editor DP Satish’s tweet and the story go viral, Union Sports Minister Kiran Rijiju too reacted for the glory of Srinivas Gowda.
Kiran Rijiju ordered Sports Authority of India (SAI) to invite Gowda and conduct a thorough test on his physique and train him.
However, Gowda turned down the request saying Olympic sprinting and Kambala is altogether a different format and he also said that he is preoccupied till mid-march for various Kambala tournaments.
Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa felicitated Gowda in Vidhan Soudha and labour department has given him cash reward of Rs 3 lakh.
Gowda made the record on February 1 and two weeks after on February 17th, Nishanth Shetty, another Kambala Jackie broken the record by running 100 metres in just 9 minutes 52 seconds.
Many say there are many such records already been made in Kambala in past as well. However, after Gowda’s record winning race Kambala is coming to the limelight.
Anand Shetty, an Indian athlete who was nine-time national champion in 100 metres and 200 metres between 1982 and 1989 was also a Kambala Jackie.
He was also champion of South Asian Games in 1984 held in Katmandu and 1987 in Kolkata. He died after meeting with a road accident in 2013. He was aged 53.
Experts say there are many hidden talents in rural areas which SAI has to search and give an opportunity. If talents like Srinivas Gowda and Nishanth Shetty picked up earlier in their age and given training, they would have made our country pride in international level.