Pro-jallikattu protest saved sport and bred winners

Vijay has so far won two bikes and one car from jallikattu events at Avaniyapuram.

Published: 19th January 2023 05:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th January 2023 05:32 AM   |  A+A-

Vijay taming bulls at Avaniyapuram jallikkattu in Madurai on Sunday. He has been on a winning streak on the arena for the past three years | express

Express News Service

MADURAI: When thousands gathered in public places across the state in January 2017 for pro-jallikattu protests, it was not just a show of unity for the beloved sport, but it also became the venue where the youth identified themselves with the venerable past of the bull-taming sport and its significance in the farming framework of Tamil Nadu.

R Vijay from Madurai was one of the protesters who gathered on Tamukkam ground. Reaching the venue that day, Vijay had no idea that the awareness and courage he would imbibe from that spot would help him emerge Avaniyapuram-jallikattu winner for three consecutive years. Last Sunday, the 23-year-old won the best tamer prize at Avaniyapuram.

Vijay, now a Tangedco staff, hails from a non-agrarian lower-middle-class family in Jaihindupuram and nobody from his family was in any way related to the jallikattu sport until now. Speaking to TNIE, he said: “That day, I went for the pro-jallikattu protest with my cousins just to pass time. I was a college student then. But, the mass protest created a fire in me to contribute to the sport in whatever way I can.On Tamukkam ground, literary experts explained to us how much the bull-taming sport was intertwined with our state’s history and the agrarian community.”

“After dropping out of college at the age of 19, I joined Tangedco as a contract labourer. My cousins and I, during our Sunday holidays, began training ourselves. We developed athletic bodies and then set up a make-shift vadivaasal. Some of the bull owners in our locality also provided their animals for our training sessions,” he added.

Vijay has so far won two bikes and one car from jallikattu events at Avaniyapuram. He has also won bikes, gold coins and other valuables from participating in the sport in other districts. “I request Chief Minister MK Stalin to also give priority to high-achieving bull tamers during recruitment to government jobs,” he further said.



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