‘Faster than Bolt’ Kambala jockey says he won’t go for athletics trials

Srinivasa Gowda says he is happy with his sport - kambala - and that there are some basic differences between running on a track and running on a muddy field with buffaloes. (Twitter)

Srinivasa Gowda, the kambala jockey who was compared to world record holder Usain Bolt after a video went viral last week showing him 'finishing 100 metres in 9.55 seconds', has said that he is not interested in turning up for athletics trials and that he prefers focusing on the traditional sport of kambala instead.

"In Kambala race, heels play an important role whereas it is toes in a track race. Not just jockeys, but even buffaloes have a role to play in Kambala. In track race, this is not the case" Gowda told TNIE on Sunday, a day before he was supposed to turn up for trials in Bengaluru.

On Saturday, as tales of Gowda's feat flooded social media, Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju arranged for a trial for Gowda. Rijiju had tweeted: "Officials from SAI have contacted him. His rail ticket is done and he will reach SAI centre on monday. I will ensure top national coaches to conduct his trials properly. We are team @narendramodi ji and will do everything to identity sporting talents!"

A day after the offer, Gowda said the kambala season had left him too exhausted to take part in athletics trials and also that he was not sure if he could make a mark in the SAI trials.

READ | In Olympic year, Hima Das makes a shift from 400m to 200m

He said he has been training for kambala - a traditional form of buffalo racing in parts of Karnataka that involves the jockey holding on to the buffaloes as they race - since the age of 15 and is happy with whatever he makes from the sport and his off-season job as a construction worker.

Even on Saturday, Gowda was doing what he knows to do best - running buffalo races.

Gowda, however, said that he will turn up in Bengaluru on Monday. "I do not know if I will run in trial tomorrow or not but I will be in Bengaluru tomorrow to meet the CM. I need to consult with my Kambala academy mentor (on whether I should run). I need to rest also," Gowda was quoted as saying by ANI.

Reacting on Monday evening, Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said, "Standard of Olympics is different from traditional sports. It's not right to compare the two as we cannot go by amateur record but only by official trial."

Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa also felicitated Gowda on Monday.