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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

sprinters - 100M progression - Kambala

Venur is a small village on the banks of the Phalguni river in Belthangady Taluk, Dakshina Kannada,  The main attraction of Venur is the monolith of Bhagawan Bahubali also known as Lord Gomateshwara.  The single rock statue of Bhagawan Bahubali is about 38 feets in height and was erected by the Jain ruler Timmanna Ajila in the year 1604. The statue of Bhagawan Bahubali stands facing westward on a high platform on the banks of the river Phalguni. ..  this place is in news !

Athletics is  very interesting  ~  Sprint race or 100m dash is one which is most charming. It will be all over in less than 10 secs and more replays would only reveal the actual way it finished. The video slow mo and guns would exactly pin point who actually won and the timing with which they finished – perhaps not in all races. For almost a decade now, the world of sprinting has been dominated by one man: Usain Bolt. In the  Diamond League in Doha, perhaps  the post-Bolt era began in earnest with a host of men hoping to step into his shoes and claim the title of the 'fastest man in the world'.  In Christian Coleman, who blitzed to a stunning 100m gold medal in Doha in 9.76sec, making him the sixth-fastest man in history, it has probably found the answer. Some, like the legendary Michael Johnson, suggested that the missed drugs tests that nearly derailed the 23-year-old American’s career might prevent him from becoming the face of his sport.

Life is not all about – Usain Bolt, Ben Johnson and other sprinters – there was Ray Hines, who for  years Hines worked with inner-city youth in Houston, as well as on oil rigs outside the city.  He held a World record  until Calvin Smith ran 9.93, also at altitude, in July 1983. James Ray  Hines held the 100 m world record for 15 years. In 1968, he became the first man to officially break the 10-second barrier in the 100 meters, and won individual and relay gold at the Mexico Olympics.

Now to our local Usain Bolt – after news of Shrinivas Gowda running faster than Bolt in Kambala event – more news is coming.  The slushy arena of kambala in coastal Karnataka is turning into a hunting ground for 100m champs. Two weeks after Shrinivas Gowda did 100m in 9.55 seconds, drawing comparisons to sprinting legend Usain Bolt, 28-year-old Nishanth Shetty logged 9.52 seconds, creating a new kambala record by 0.03 seconds.

The Udupi farmer raced a pair of buffaloes across a 143-metre track in 13.61seconds in a semifinal round of the Surya-Chandra Jodukare Kambala at Venur in Belthangady taluk on Sunday. Gowda, who had broken a 30-year-old record with his performance at Aikala village on February 1, covered the 145m track in 13.62 seconds. Nishanth learned the basics from his father, who rears buffaloes for kambala in their home in Bajagoli in Karkala. He quit studies after Class 12 and has been a jockey for over six years now. As news of his feat emerged on Tuesday, Nishanth was quick to preempt any comparison with Bolt or talk of Olympic-level training for athletics.

“I have finished 100 metres in 9.52 seconds as a jockey in the semifinal of ‘Hagga Hiriya’ category. This is my best timing and I am happy. But it is not right to compare my performance in kambala with Usain Bolt’s. We cannot compare sprinting and kambala, there is a lot of difference between the two,” he said. The Hagga Hiriya category of kambala involves roping a pair of buffaloes and racing alongside on a slushy field that serves as the track; others involve the runner standing on a wooden plank dragged by the buffaloes. Shetty is the jockey for Hosabettu Gopalakrishna Bhat, who owns the buffaloes.

Both Nishanth and Gowda are alumni of the Kambala Academy in Karkala, founded by K Gunapala Kadamba, founder secretary of Dakshina Kannada Kambala Samiti. “It is a proud moment for me that two of our students have brought fame for the sport and our academy,” said Kadamba. Nishanth has been racing in kambala events for the past six years and has won 40 medals so far, including one gold and three silver. Gowda is on a winning spree this season, having notched up 32 medals so far. Kambala races will be held up to the first week of March. While Kambala jockeys have logged similar records in the past, the flurry of attention over the past few days is forcing organisers to rethink the potential reach and appeal of the sport, long seen as rural, having little to do with the mainstream.

“With Shrinivas Gowda’s performance at Aikala, we decided to create a website where runners’ performances will be updated on a realtime basis,” said Dakshina Kannada Kambala Samiti president PR Shetty.

Interesting ! –does make one think that what ever recorded and hailed need not be best in the globe, there could always be hidden talents unseen and waiting to be unearthed and recognized.  The photo at the start is that of  Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce,   the first Caribbean woman to win 100 m gold at the Olympics.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
19th Feb 2029.
·         Kambala news source – Times of India

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