The Kila Raipur Sports Festival, popularly known as the Rural Olympics, is the main event in the Punjab’s sporting calendar. Every year thousands compete to be crowned champions at events including Bullock Cart Racing, Tent Pegging and Loading and Offloading a trolley of paddy. Sounds amazing, no?
Started in 1933, the Rural Olympics is the brainchild of Inder Singh Grewal who wanted to create a event where the farmers from Kila Raipur and the surrounding area could get together to compete, test their endurance and be crowned champions.
The Rural Olympics has blossomed as a result. Today over 4,000 athletes participate in tens of different disciplines that draw in more than a million spectators.
The Rural Olympics has attracted sponsors and media attention, but it hasn’t been taken over by urban elites and lost its roots as a result. In 2015 over two thirds of attendees came from rural communities and 60% were farmers.
So, what is that everyone comes to watch? There’s the standard, every day track and field competitions, like 100 and 200 metre spirits, 800 metres and 1500 metres. Add in the high jump, the Javelin and discus and it all sounds like a pretty standard affair for an athletics meet.
But that’s the mainstream stuff, wait until you hear about what else is happening.
There’s tractor racing, bullock and mule cart racing, tent pegging, Loading and Offloading a trolley of paddy and Bazigar Feats (I know, I’ve no idea either).
As well as all that, there’s a separate category called feats of strength by Ruralites. One can only imagine what’s going to happen. For a full run down of the 2016 event highlights take a look at this list.
The Rural Olympics takes places in late January or February each year. For more information on the event and festival dates check out the official website.
Photo sourced from www.ruralolympics.net. Thanks for the image.