MADURAI: Jallikattu at Alanganallur, in Madurai district, a rage of lovers of this rural sport, took to a roaring start on Monday even as the surge of new variant Omicron driven Covid-19 cases left a nation on tenterhooks.
As if aware of the all-round crisis caused by the pandemic, brought to participate in the event from Karur, hesitated to emerge out of the "Vadivasal" (the gate through which the bulls enter the arena) for more than five minutes. After a long struggle and goading, the bull finally came and went around the ground leaving the tamers scared for a while.
During the third round, a bull raised by Annalakshmi from Selliyampatti in Sivaganga received great applause and achieved more prizes.
A total of 2,000 police personnel were deployed in and around the jallikattu area. Also, 10 medical teams have been posted at various points. A veterinary team of 11 members are said to be in-charge of the medical examination of bulls. A total of 19 persons got injured including 10 tamers, 5 bull raisers and four spectators. First aid was given on the spot with the help of 108 ambulance employees, and they were later taken to Primary Health Center, Alanganallur.
All participating bull owners were gifted with gold coins. The best bull tamer would be gifted a new car while the owner of the best bull would receive a two-wheeler. Other prizes include gold and silver coins, grinder, gold ring, washing machine, television set and other electronic devices, mobile phones, bicycles among others.
In the presence of District Collector Dr. S Aneesh Sekhar, Corporation Commissioner Dr. K P Karthikeyan, Superintendent of Police V Baskaran Minister for Commercial Taxes and Registration P Moorthy kickstarted the event by waving a green flag after the collector administered oath to the tamers.
In view of the increasing number of Omicron cases in the state, only double vaccinated tamers with RT-PCR negative certificates were allowed to participate in the event.
A total of 500 tamers were registered after a health check-up. Similarly, over 1,000 bulls have been registered to take part in the event.
The bulls would be selected through randomisation and would be issued a slip containing a QR code.
A total of 7 rounds would be taking place today, with each round lasting for one hour.
About 50 tamers would be permitted for each round. Bull owners could bring only one helper and both should satisfy the same conditions. A total of three rounds have been completed at 11 am and 379 bulls have taken part in it.