Indian village boy becomes overnight sprint sensation

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NEW DELHI, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- A 28-year-old construction worker has become an overnight sensation in India after he completed a 142-meter race in just 13.42 seconds, and has been called by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) for assessment on Monday.

Srinivasa Gowda, a native of India's southern state of Karnataka, had emerged as the fastest Kambala (a traditional sport) racer earlier this month.

Kambala race is a traditional sport in Karnataka where a runner sprints with a pair of buffaloes on slush tracks.

Recently, Gowda is said to have completed one such 142-meter long race in just 13.42 seconds, thereby prompting his comparison with Usain Bolt who holds the Olympics record of finishing 100-meter race in 9.58 seconds.

The country's Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju was fast enough to pick the latent talent in Gowda. Immediately after Gowda's rare feat was brought to his knowledge, the minister tweeted, "Officials from SAI have contacted him. His rail ticket is done and he will reach SAI center on Monday. I will ensure top national coaches to conduct his trials properly. We will do everything to identity sporting talents."

Noted industrialist Anand Mahindra, who owns the leading Mahindra and Mahindra automobile company, said the country expected a gold medal from Gowda in forthcoming Olympics.

"Just one look at his physique & you know this man is capable of extraordinary athletic feats. Now either Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju provides him training as a 100-meter sprinter or we get Kambala to become an Olympic event. Either way, we want a Gold Medal for Srinivasa," he said in a tweet.

Director General of SAI Sandeep Pradhan said that the Sports Authority had reached out to Gowda and booked his train ticket. He will be in SAI's Bangalore center on Monday where our coaches will assess him, Pradhan said, adding that "We hope to identify and nurture more talents with inputs from all sports enthusiasts." Enditem

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