Srisailam paddlers dazzle, conquer Hussainsagar

Srisailam paddlers dazzle, conquer Hussainsagar
Highlights

Telangana State’s second Formation Day celebrations began on a colourfully rollicking note on Wednesday in an ambience that was made perfect by serene weather conditions miles away fromThursday’s main event at Parade Ground.

Telangana State’s second Formation Day celebrations began on a colourfully rollicking note on Wednesday in an ambience that was made perfect by serene weather conditions miles away fromThursday’s main event at Parade Ground.

Even as Hussainsagar Lake was decked up for the occasion, making India’s first Coracle Regatta spectacularly unique was the presence of ten professional paddlers from Srisailam interiors, who, in fact, stole the show with both their traditional attire and the ability to conquer the waters with a natural dexterity.

A joint initiative of Telangana Tourism and the Department of Culture, the race was a spectators’ delight because there was excitement all through the 500 metres distance on which the paddlers did three rounds of singles and another three rounds of pairs. Needless to say, the competition was so frenzied that only seconds separated the first three finishers.

The best part was that the paddlers had never raced Coracles before. The competitors came from the two nearby villages of Somasila and Manchallakatta, which are pretty close to Srisailam. While the old warhorse Mohammad Ismail packed a punch even at 61 years of age, (disqualified on technical grounds at the half-way point), the babe among them Masoom Gangaputra, all of 24, took the pairs honours along with Pullaiah.

The latter was so adept that he notched up a double winning the singles event after a tie with Ramakrishna. "What we saw today demonstrates the power of rural sport, which can take the nation by storm.

A similar, if not a bigger excitement, will be the illuminated display of Coracles and water laser near the imposing Buddha statue Thursday evening. The skyline will glitter like never before, once the fireworks start" points out Burra Venkatesham, Principal Secretary, Tourism and Culture, with the enthusiasm of a youngster.

This is to be a run-up to the grander one during the Buthkamma festivities in September wherein 100 paddlers from across the State will compete for honours.

"The atmosphere at the racing was electric, I am sure that this can become an international sport with Telangana State taking the lead," observed Suheim Sheikh of the Yacht Club who initiated the idea of India's first Coracle Regatta.

Results- Individual: 1. Pullaiah (4 points), 2. Ramakrishna (4), 3. Chinnavenkatswamy (8); Pairs: 1. Mason Gangaputra/Pullaiah (5), Nagrajur/Chandriah (7); 3. Srini/Krishnaiah (12).

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