Jallikattu kicks off amid fanfare in TN, over 35 injured
Madurai: 'Jallikattu,'the annual bull taming event that is slated to be held in several parts of Tamil Nadu took off to a colourful start here on Wednesday on the occasion of Pongal, in which over 700 bulls and about 750 participants took part.
As the feisty bulls, one after the other started racing towards the lengthy sporting arena from the entrance, known as 'vadivasal,' young men waiting with bated breath strained every nerve to latch on to the hump of the animals.
"Don't touch the horns," "many men don't chase one animal," "allow the bull to go; it has won," were among the instructions that reverberated in the arena for the participants.
The Jallikattu at Avaniapuram held here today marks the start of the once a year bull taming sport in many rural and semi-urban regions of Tamil Nadu.
Similar events will be held at Palamedu tomorrow and in Alanganallur on January 17 and these are among the hugely popular bull taming contests in the State.
If the participant manage to hang on over the hump of the bull for a determined distance, he is declared a winner and if not, the animal emerges the victor.
In each round, about 60 to 70 participants with colour coded T-shirts and shorts took part.
Festivity marked the event and scores of spectators from the gallery craned their necks to have a glimpse of determined men trying to get the better of the animals in a matter of seconds as soon as they were released into the arena.
A huge number of spectators, including many foreign tourists with cameras, were glued to the event.
Keenly watching the game, organisers quickly declared -over the public address system- if the animal or the man was the winner and the prize.
The sporting arena was barricaded from the galleries and enclosures marked for spectators.
Speaking to PTI, an official said medical examination of both the men and animals decided their participation.
Some participants found to be under the influence of alcohol and restless animals were disallowed, he said.
The official said over 35 men were injured, including participants, spectators, and some bull owners and a section of them were sent to a government hospital for treatment.
However, no bull was injured, he added.
Elaborate security arrangements were made and access to medical facilities were on standby.
The event was held under the supervision of a panel, led by a retired judge.
Three men who successfully held on to a high number of animals - between 10 and 15 bulls- were awarded the first three prizes. Also, others who dominated fewer or a single animal successfully were given a variety of prizes including vessels and silver coins.
(Image from ndtv.com)