The self-effacing buffalo race jockey won 35 golds and 11 silvers in the 15-event season
Mangaluru: The Kambala season of buffalo races in southern Karnataka ended Sunday with jockey Srinivas Gowda, hailed as the Usain Bolt of the sport, setting an all-time record by winning 46 medals over 15 events.
Gowda caught the attention of the world when he ran 142.5 m on the Kambala track in a time of 13.62 seconds in a Kambala race held at Aikala on February 1. That time was the equivalent of running a 100 m race in 9.55 seconds, purportedly faster than the flat-track sprint world record time set by Usain Bolt. The state and central government noted this achievement and rushed to honour him.
For Kambala lovers, Srinivas Gowda has been the main attraction this season. In the 15th and last Jodukare Kambala race (race of buffalo pairs) held at Bangady Kolli in Belthangady taluk over the weekend, he won four medals, including three golds and one silver.
That took Srinivas Gowda’s tally for the season to a historic 46 medals--35 golds and 11 silvers--in a season of 15 events.
"Srinivas Gowda has set a record which nobody can break in the near future. Until now the record was in the name of Suresh Shetty who grabbed 32 medals in 17 Kambala races three years ago.
Kambala Committee founding member and Kambala Academy founder Prof Gunapal Kadamba told Deccan Chronicle that Srinivas Gowda did better than 9.55 in 100 m in another event the same day, clocking the same distance in 9.44 seconds in another race. But that went unnoticed. Another jockey Nishanth Shetty is said to have covered 100 m in 9.15 seconds.
In another Kambala event at Bangady, another jockey Suresh Shetty covered 100 m in 9.38 seconds in a preliminary round (trial run or 'chance,' as it is termed in Kambala parlance). However, that is not considered a proper race.
This Kambala season attracted people to the races after Srinivas Gowda's achievement. The season also saw some innovations. In the last four Kambala events, the organisers began to time the start with a laser beam. Until then, only the finishing point was laser timed.