MANGALURU: One more male bastion conquered. This season, five girls from Dakshina Kannada district will be trained to participate in the high-adrenaline, physically demanding Kambala race, which has till now remained a male-dominated sport.
Breaking the tradition, the Kambala Academy has allowed them to be Kambala jockeys, who will be steering their buffaloes through slushy tracks. Once the training of male participants is completed, separate sessions will be held for the five girls.
“When I decided to include women, I got a threat. Why should we not give opportunities to women when they themselves are interested? Their parents too have agreed. They will be trained at least for five days and they will participate with buffaloes raised at their homes.
Despite opposition, we will hold a special Kambala exclusively for these girls at Moodbidri this season. In the coming days, more women will come forward. Already, women are allowed in Yakshagana, which had for a long time remained male-only at form,” said Gunapal Kadamba, convener of Kambala Conservation, Monitoring and Training Academy. He said that women Kambala enthusiasts will also be allowed to commentate and bring buffaloes to the starting point of the track.
Kambala training to be over on Oct 10
Already , Chaitra Parameshwar Bhat, a girl from Kundapur who hogged limelight last year when she appeared with her pair of buffaloes at Miyyar, has already entered the Kambala track. Four other girls will also take part this time, he said.
Meanwhile, 33 male jockeys, aged between 18 and 20, have been selected for the 15- day training programme by the academy. Gunapal said they were picked from a group of 219 aspirants. They have already started training since September 19 and will complete their sessions on October 10.