A slow yet enthusiastic start. That is how the Kila Raipur Rural Olympics began here on Thursday, as the the hick fog that had engulfed the venue in the morning gave way to bright sunlight by 11am, and jockeys of bullock carts slowly started gathering at the venue.
As soon as the organisers were done with the ceremonial ‘Path’ to mark the 78th edition of the games open, the time-trial event of bullock cart races — in which only a single bullock cart races and the winner is adjudged on the fastest time — began. A round of applause came from the spectators as soon as the first bullock cart took off, clocking 20.38 seconds.
In the event, Lakhbir Singh of Dhaul Khurd village was first, recording 19.6 seconds. More than 100 racers participated in the first event and the participants kept reaching the venue till evening.
The enthusiasm of the participants was evident from the fact that 15 of them clocked below 22 seconds, while some lost balanced, fell off, wandered around and finished the race in 26 seconds. The rural games will be witnessing an explosion of eccentricity and macho prowess in the next three days, as men of all ages, from 7 to 70, would put their endurance, talent and strength to test.
Punjab minister Sharanjit Singh Dhillon will be the chief guest on Friday. In the ‘time trial’ event, Manak clocked 20.12 seconds and secured the second spot, while Swaran Singh of Raipur Khurd, at 20.22 seconds, was third.