Bengaluru: Kabala buffalo race jockey Srinivas Gowda, who was touted as the ‘Indian Usain Bolt’ by a breathless clickbait media for supposedly running 140 odd metres in 13 and something seconds, has spurned the invitation of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) to appear for trials for India’s athletics team.
The SAI had earlier claimed that Srinivas would be reaching its centre in Bengaluru on Monday and given time to acclimatize before being trialled. SAI was quoted saying "Srinivas Gowda will be given a day or two of rest and acclimatization before his trial takes place. The date of the trail has not been fixed yet."
However, Srinivas Gowda, citing a tight schedule of Kamabala races back in Dakshina Kannada district, said he could visit the Sports Authority of India facilities only after his Kambala race season ends.
Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru after he was felicitated by chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa, Gowda said, “I am more than happy to be recognised as the face of Kambala race, which I feel I achieved to an extent possible. Before visiting SAI, I wish to honour my commitments. I am already in the middle of my Kambala season. It takes another month to complete it. I have finished 12 of the 18 races as of now.”
According to him, once he completes his Kambala racing season, he needs a month’s rest before attending any trials.
“I know Usain Bolt. He is a world renowned champion. I cannot match him. I run with the help of a pair of buffaloes in muddy terrain. My running style is entirely dependent on the buffaloes’ speed as well. So it is unfair to compare him with me. It is also true that the way I run in my terrain, even Mr Bolt may not be able to match my speed. He runs on the front foot and I, as a Kambala racer, have to run on my back foot. So, we both runners are cut out for different terrain altogether,” he said.
While his mentor, the president of the Kambala Academy, Prof. K. Gunapala Kadamba told reprorters that it was unreasonable for anyone to compare Gowda with Bolt. “Both terrains are completely different and the training aptitude is also complete different. I would certainly be more happy if Gowda wins a medal in the Olympics or any other international event. But, please allow us to enjoy the present moment. We are more than happy that Kambala which was just region-specific event, today, due to Gowda’s record, we are able to spread awareness about our regional sport,” he said.
Whereas, Sports Authority of India’s Bengaluru director, Ajai Kumar Behl, added that SAI had always believed in nurturing talent and if Gowda was willing to train for track events, SAI was willing to provide all the support including nutritional conditioning. “From our side it is an open invitation to him. Whenever he wants to he can come to us we will prepare him to train in our facility,” he added.
Sports Authority of India high performance director Saju Joesph observed that Gowda was very good at balancing while running in muddy terrain. “This requires a high standard of training as well as concentration. He is blessed with these qualities and these qualities are required to excel in any field of sports. IF he is trained in SAI facility, I am sure that he can run even faster on track,” he told this newspaper.
According to him, in Kambala racing, the jockey is preoccupied with controlling a pair of buffaloes as well. “His hands are occupied. This is an unusual way of running as due to this he tends to lose his speed as well. If he is trained properly and adequately, he can better his own Kambala record even on track,” he explained....