Srinivasa Gowda was just an ordinary villager in Mudbidri, Karnataka, known only to those who followed the traditional sport of Kambala. This unique game, which involves men running alongside a pair of buffaloes as they charge at full speed is quite popular in the hinterland of the state but hardly known outside it.
But in the last day or so, this sport and its star Gowda have become internet sensations and are on their way to gaining greater fame across the nation. This was due to an incredible performance by Srinivasa in one of the events where, it is being claimed, he ran 100 meters in 9.55 seconds – .03 seconds faster than Usain Bolt's world record of 9.58 seconds.
The clip of his performance as well as comments on it spread through the Twitterverse and social media like wildfire. Then, leading industrialist Anand Mahindra took notice and tagged Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju in a tweet in which he said that Gowda should be immediately taken under the wings of sports authorities for testing and training.
Soon, the minister responded to the tweet and assured Mahindra and everyone that he will indeed arrange for the Karnataka youngster to be brought to the SAI training center for proper examination and further training.
Now, minister Rijiju has acted on his promise and informed everyone through his Twitter account that Srinivasa Gowda is all set to travel to the SAI center in Bengaluru where he would be put through the trials. He declared that arrangements for his travel are made and the Kambala star will be at his destination by Monday.
The minister was responding to another tweet, this one by BJP National General Secretary P Muralidhar Rao. The latter wrote, while tagging the Sports Minister: "India will rise and shine the Indic way! 100 meters in just 9.55 sec is an amazing feat. Proper training to Srinivas Gowda will definitely help him to make name for the country. My best wishes."
Rijiju responded to the tweet by providing the necessary information about the steps he has taken so far. "Yes @PMuralidharRao ji. 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!"
The new superstar sprinter of India was interviewed by news agency ANI where he reacted to the adulation coming his way. "People are comparing me to Usain Bolt. He is a world champion, I am only running in a slushy paddy field," a humble Gowda said. Let's hope that in him, the country has discovered a superstar.