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They slugged it out with childlike enthusiasm

Staff Correspondent
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Munaf Patel, Vinay Kumar were the star attractions at the Sri Bhoothanatheshwara Kreedotsava

READY, STEADY, AND GO:Children set off during a slush track sprint at the Sri Bhoothanatheshwara Kreedotsava - III at Mijar, near Mangalore on Sunday.— PHOTO: H.S. MANJUNATH
READY, STEADY, AND GO:Children set off during a slush track sprint at the Sri Bhoothanatheshwara Kreedotsava - III at Mijar, near Mangalore on Sunday.— PHOTO: H.S. MANJUNATH

Under the sweltering sun and under public gaze, scores of people jostled with one another on the slushy fields for their fifteen seconds of fame in Sri Bhoothanatheshwara Kreedotsava held in Badaga Yadapadavu on Sunday.

The three-day rural games competition wound up on Sunday, with over 4,000 participants in 40 games spanning 70 categories, said the organisers.

With a 100-metre field of slush being at the centre of the attraction, the games encompassed the off-beat as well as the traditional varieties.

If tug-of-war, kambala, slush races, and wrestling represented the traditional, then “man with the biggest belly”, fastest beedie roller, and “best looking chicken” among others represented the off-beat.

They missed first place, and instead, their second place finish came with Jaya Nayak accidentally throwing his wife, Suman Nayak, over the finish line.

The couple from Sangabettu near Bantwal, who were witnessing the games for the first time, say that it was a spur of the moment decision to take part in the race that involves husband carrying the wife and running through the slush.

Ready to be back

“Second place is a good result, but we will definitely come back next year. Perhaps, we will practice in the meantime,” said Mr. Nayak in jest.

This year though he was a participant, having secured second place in the pyramid competition, which involves coordinating with 19 other people to form a pyramid in the shortest possible time.

Among the audience on Sunday were medium pace bowlers N. Vinay Kumar and Munaf Patel.

Convenor of the games, Vijaynath Vital Shetty said with a budget of Rs. 75 lakh, this was the biggest edition to date. “This has been emulated in other parts of the State, but none that go on consistently for three days,” he said.

Munaf Patel: “These games are played all across the country, but I have not seen a spectacle like this. It is good to keep traditional sports alive in the country.”

N. Vinay Kumar: Seeing them fall during the run, and then picking themselves up and run barefoot across the slush is just a reminder that those from rural areas are tough. This toughness is seen when they are in mainstream games.

Vijaynath Vital Shetty, convenor of the games: The games have grown over the years. More people have attended and taken part these games than previous edition, the sponsorships have increased, and everyone is having a good time.

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