In Pictures: 10 Things We Learned From India's Rural Olympics - Homegrown

In Pictures: 10 Things We Learned From India's Rural Olympics

We can guarantee two things post reading this article. For one thing, you'll learn a few things you never knew about your country before and for another, pole vaulting at the world olympics is going to look like a cakewalk after these.

A 3-day competition held in Punjab every winter, The Indian Rural Olympics are meant to be a true celebration of culture. This year was the 77th edition of the games and we only just heard about it last year! Here are ten interesting things we learned from the crazy competition and its crazier events.
I. All the participants are fucking insane.
If they're not being athletic beasts, being willingly run over by farm machinery or bullock chariot racing then they're displaying other completely abnormal displays of strength and interests.II. The craziest ones look the most ordinary. 

Somehow, they manage to look totally inconspicuous while doing absolutely insane things. We don't even want to know what this sweet, old man is going to get up to once he's found his position.

III. They have a lot of 'alternative' uses for tractors.

Obviously, there's no dearth of tractors in rural, farm-wielding areas but it would be so boring if they were only used to plough the land. No, instead they use them in the rural olympics to run over people or have participants pull them with their teeth.

IV. Participants have extraordinary dental capacity.

For everything that's been said about Indian rural areas not receiving the right nutrients with their dietary intake, one thing is for certain--they're getting enough calcium! Several participants are well capable of pulling tractors, they're lifting 3 bicycles or lifting 21 bricks at a time. And you thought opening a beer bottle was impressive.V. Someone needs to introduce them to gymnastics.
This man is balancing a farm plough on his mouth. Clearly if he applied those same skills to a balancing beam or a vaulting horse, he might just give half of China something to worry about.And this other man is..well..we don't even know how to describe what he's doing, how he's not the topic of stephen hawking's next book and in what way this qualifies as a sport in the rural olympics because we doubt there are any other competitors in this category.

Now for other fun (but more informative) facts:

VI. History lessons first.
The Indian Rural Olympics is a 3-day-long competition held every winter in the state of Punjab. 2013 marked its 77th year of running! It was founded in 1933 by a philanthropist named Inder Singh Grewal who wished to create an event in which both famers could compete against each other and simultaneously preserve Punjabi culture.VII. The Name Game.
It's formally referred to as the Kila Raipur Sports Festival and competitors' age ranges from teenagers to pensioners. VIII. And here's a number-cruncher's guide to these olympics. 
Over one million people attend each year and upto 4000 sportsmen and women participate.

IX. Prized Winnings:

From Ghetta Pathar to Khidu to Bullock cart racing to tent pegging (picking up an object with a javelin while on horseback) to having stones broken on their chest to everything else we mentioned above, the sports festival has become a draw for its borderline-insane and completely unusual varieties of sports showcased and competed in. Bullock cart racing however, remains the biggest draw and the winner goes home with a big cash prize. Fair enough considering a good racing bull can cost as much as Rs. 1 lakh! Other prizes can be as minimal as a packet of ghee.

X. Between bullock carts and bombs.
They have suffered a few setbacks over the years, the least of which was not the banning of bullock cart racing. In the '90s a bomb was planted massacring upto 25 people at the event. Still, they've kept it going and many consider this to be a culture that needs to be preserved at all costs.
Considering everything we've just found out, we're in agreement.
Watch the video below to get a better feel for the games. They're definitely worth adding to a holiday schedule!
Compiled by: Homegrown Staff
 

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