Pigeon-flying, which is popular in north Kerala, wants representation in district sports council.

Pigeons evoke strong passions in A.P. Abdul Nasser. Though he is in the Gulf where he works as a caterer, in his home town Nasser is admired as the proud owner of champion pigeons which he rears with the help of his friend Ashraf at Chamundivalappu.

This year Nasser has special reason to rejoice. His team, named Crazy Pigeon, came out with flying colours in the Pigeon Flying contests organised by Malabar Pigeon Flyers Association.

At the prize distribution function at the Kozhikode Urban Bank Auditorium on Sunday, the loudest applause was reserved for Ashraf, who received the trophies on behalf of Abdul Nasser.

In the contests, which are held from 6 a.m. to 7.30 p.m., the pigeon that stays the longest in time air is the winner. Crazy Pigeon posted the highest points in the contests this year — its pigeons flew more than 13 hours non-stop in six contests.

(A participant gets five points for every flight by his pigeon if the bird flies non-stop for more than 13 hours.)

Crazy Pigeon also won the “top time” prize for the pigeon flying non-stop for the longest time. The record this year was 13 hours and 20 minutes. Crazy Pigeon was also the winner in V.P. Beeran Koya Memorial Malabar Tournament and Ahammedkunhji Memorial Malabar Tournament.

It won the second prize in M.K.P. Mammed Koya Memorial Malabar Gold Tournament and third prize in Azhiyikkal Vasu Memorial Malabar Tournament.

Most of these tournaments are named in memory of pigeon flyers who had kept the sport alive. Mussaffir Ahammed and Abdulla Koya, Corporation Councillors, promised pigeon lovers they would strongly press for representation for Malabar Pigeon Flyers Association in the District Sports Council.

“Pigeon-flying has a large following. It is an exciting sport that can attract tourists. Sadly, it is being denied recognition “Mussafir Ahammed said.

K.V. Ali Koya, president, Malabar Pigeon Flyers Association, said the best proof of its popularity was the fact it had survived for quarter of a century without much media support and corporate patronage.

26-year-old tourney

“More pigeon-lovers are participating in our tournaments; our association's membership has risen to 134. This tournament is 26 years old and this year it attracted pigeon-lovers from Kannur and Malappuram district too. We believe we richly deserve representation on the sports council,” said A.T.A. Koya, general secretary of Malabar Pigeon Flyers Association. Senior pigeon-flyers were honoured at the function.