Innovative training methods need not be limited to athletes. As Kambala fever grips Dakshina Kannada (DK), Udupi-based hotelier and buffalo racing aficianado Vinu Vishwanath Shetty has built a special swimming pool for racing buffaloes to train in.
His craze for Kambala — the traditional buffalo race held in the slushy, muddy paddy fields of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi district—led Shetty to construct a 10-feet deep, 40x45 feet swimming pool for buffaloes in his Padebettu village.
A native of Moodabidri- Karinje, Shetty owns a chain of hotels in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and India. He bought land in Padubidri only to nurture his love for Kambala. In 1999, he began looking after racing buffaloes that have won him medals every year since then. At present, he owns ten buffaloes, each costing `5 to `15 lakh.
The training pool, attached to a shed, cost him Rs 20 lakhto build. He spent another `10 lakh to lay an interlock around the pool. It also has a bay for buffaloes to enter. Four motor pumps are used to fill the pool within 4 hours. Four more pumps are used to empty the pool for cleaning.
“In the first year (1999) itself we had won 13 out of 15 medals in the undivided DK district. Our buffaloes have a record of running 140 meters in just 12.5 seconds. By giving them swimming exercise in 7-feet deep water, we want to reduce the time to 12 seconds,” the proud owner of Kambala buffaloes said.
Showing off Pandu, one of his prized buffaloes Shetty said, “He has never let us down. I just whisper in his ears that this race is a matter of prestige for us, and you shall win it. He will then simply give a nod and prove his mettle.”
All cash or gold the buffalos wins are donated to temples. Shetty’s Kambala team has around 40 members. May the best beast win.
- Sunday Standard