'Faster than Bolt' Indian buffalo runner beaten
A buffalo racer in India whose blistering pace along a muddy field prompted comparisons to Olympic legend Usain Bolt has been beaten at his own game.
Srinivas Gowda ran 142.5 metres in 13.62 seconds on January 31 behind two buffaloes, setting a record in the annual race known as Kambala in the southern state of Karnataka.
This equated to running 100 metres in 9.55 seconds, compared with the retired Bolt's world record of 9.58 seconds, earning the construction worker fame and an invitation from the sports minister to take part in track trials.
But according to local media, Nishant Shetty and his buffaloes have pipped Gowda, running 143 metres in 13.61 seconds. This is the equivalent of 9.51 seconds over 100 metres.
Kambala is an annual festival in the farming belts of Karnataka during the winter when contestants sprint along waterlogged muddy fields holding a rope attached to two buffaloes.
Gowda, who met the state's chief minister on Monday but turned down an immediate trial to concentrate on his sport, saying Kambala and track events are different.
"Many who have achieved in track events have tried Kambala and have not been successful," he had said. "In Kambala we run on heels whereas in track it is on toes."
He admitted the buffaloes are a vital component.
"Never in my dream did I think that I would be so famous. The credit should go to my buffaloes," Gowda, 28, told Indian media.
"I could achieve this only because they cooperated with me."