Meet India's Usain Bolt, Srinivas Gowda
Rural Indiais full of talents and skills, Srinivas Gowda is one of them. A construction worker from India, SrinivasGowda has beaten Usain Bolt's 100-meter world record with the help of twobuffaloes. He became popular overnight when a video of him was circulated onsocial media. It showed him in a Kambala race in Aikala village near Bengaluru,clocking 142 meters in just 13.62 seconds, reportedly proving that he wouldhave complete 100 meters less than 9.55 seconds, ahead of world's fastesthuman, Usain Bolt, who completed the 100 meters in 9.58 seconds.
Rise to Internet Stardom
SrinivasGowda, prior to the race on Thursday was a virtually unknown entity outside ofthe circles who know about the annual race. He was first reported by the localKannada newspapers and it was not until an Additional Director General ofPolice told a senior editor of a major news network that Gowda shot to instantfame.
Shortly,thrilling videos of Srinivas running on a paddy field, shepherding twobuffaloes surfaced and went viral on social sites. There were, of course,comparisons with the Usain Bold, because Srinivas's 100m timing seemed lesserthan the legendary Bolt.
When news ofhis speed spread thorough local news and social media, the sports minister,Kiren Rijiju offered him for the national sprint trials. Sports ministertweeted on Saturday, saying that they hadarranged for Gowda's train tickets so he could travel to the center run by theSports Authority of India where the trials would happen.
But Srinivastold BBC that he will not be able to accept the offer. He told that I haveinjured my leg and my focus is on Kambaba. I am used to running with buffalo inthe paddy field.
ProfessorGunapla Kadamba, the founder-secretary of the Kambala Academy, said that it was a great honour for Kambala butunfortunately Gowda would not be able to go for trails immediately.
He said thatthe problem is that Srinivas has Kambala on the next three Saturdays. That is acommitment that he cannot go back on in any situations. So here they are notrejecting the offer. Maybe Srinivas will go for trials at a later stage.
Srinivasaearns his living as a construction worker and has been taking part in the race'Kambala' for over seven years.
When askedabout his record-breaking victory, he said he was excited and praised histeammates- the two buffalo he ran alongside-for doing great.
About the Sport that Srinivasa Took Part in
Srinivasatook part in a traditional Indian sport called 'Kambala'- an annual event wherea man, called the 'kambala jockey', has to keep up with two buffaloes, who pullhis towards the finish line.
Objectively,the fact that Srinivasa ran so fast while the trained beasts were pulling himat ferocious speed is amazing in itself and by no means can it be done by manyother runners.
While gothrough these highlights, we should not forget that the annual event in India'ssouthern state of Karnataka has had a bit of a controversial history. In theyear 2014, animal welfare organizations had approached the Supreme Court ofIndia and got successful in banning 'kambala'. But in 2017, the Prevention ofCruelty to Animals Ordinance re-legalised the kambala festival in Karnataka.
Second thingis that even as the Srinivasa story has raged abroad, most have not noted thattraditional Indian sports like kambalafollow hand timings. The daily IndianExpress pointed out that Srinivasa's speed of '100 meters in 9.55 secondswas mainly because of the speed of his buffaloes.
Many expertshave also said that Bolt's comparison is not right as Srinivasa's speed wasgenerated by the buffaloes he was running with. The animals are well-known forreaching speeds of around 35mph that is obviously faster than even Bolt'srecord-breaking feat.
Even whenSrinivasa was asked how he felt when compared with Usain Bolt, he said, people are comparing me to Usain Bolt. He isa champion globally, I am only running in a slushy paddy field.
Overall,Srinivasa's achievement is outstanding. But now he needs to take advantage ofthe upcoming opportunities and hone himself into a professional track and fieldathlete.