MANGALURU: The nation is closely watching Kambala jockey Shrinivas Gowda, 28, from Mijar Ashwathpur in Mangaluru, after being compared to international sprinter Usain Bolt.
“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! (sic)” Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor tweeted on Saturday.
However, Kambala Academy, where Shrinivas Gowda was trained, would not like to compare Gowda to Usain Bolt.
Professor K Gunapala Kadamba, president, Kambala Academy and founder secretary of Dakshina Kannada Kambala Committee, told, “We are proud of him. Gowda was the first batch student of the academy. In the 11 Kambalas held this season, he has won 32 prizes. In every Kambala he wins at least two prizes. We will not compare him to Usain Bolt because we cannot vouch for the accuracy of timings. Only at the finish we have a laser network system and electronic timings. The length of the Kambala tracks also varies,” he said.
It’s all about a technique. Since Bolt runs on tracks and Gowda is supported by buffaloes, there are chances that he may run fast, said another expert.
Kambala or buffalo race is a traditional sport of Tulunadu where barefoot jockeys run behind a pair of buffaloes. Gowda has been taking part in Kambalas since 2013 and was the overall champion for 2017-18 by winning 28 medals. “When Kambala Academy introduced training to jockeys in 2013, I enrolled myself. I am among the very few jockeys who after training, have been participating in Kambalas regularly, “ Shrinivas Gowda said.
Currently, one of the most sought after Kambala jockeys, he is a jockey for buffaloes owned by Harshavardhan Padiwal, Moodabidri, Mahakalibettu Seetharama Shetty, Bantwal, Iruvail Panila Bada Poojary and Shakti Prasad Shetty of Mijar Prasad Nilaya. He is the son of Dombayya, a coolie worker and Late Girija.