The bulls are back in the ring and it’s not just in the heartland. A year after it took the city by storm, the jallikattu jamboree is set to return as a Indian Premiere League-styled league ahead of Pongal.
The competition is planned in a plot opposite the Madras Crocodile Bank on East Coast Road on January 7, announced organisers of the event, Tamil Nadu Jallikattu Peravai and Chennai Jallikattu Amaipu, while unveiling the logo for the event on Thursday.
Around 500 youngsters from 17 districts across the state and an equal number of bulls have been selected to take part in the event. The free for all spectacle, will be televised by Zee Tamizh on Mattu Pongal day, organisers said.
“Majority of people in the northern Tamil Nadu, including Chennai, have not witnessed jallikattu, the sport of the valiant (Veera Vilayattu). Though thousands of students gathered on the Marina beach to demand a law allowing the sport to be held last January, not many had seen it,” said Rajmohan Arumugam, who hosted the programme.
The participants would be divided into five groups and would have to go through three rounds. In each round around 20 bulls would be released into the playing area and a team would be eliminated after each round. A sizeable prize would be given to the winners, both men and bulls. More details about the event would be announced later.
Though the Supreme Court is hearing a case challenging the law which allowed the conduct of the sport in the state, organisers said the government has given permission for the event and also backed it. They also indicated that bulls belonging to MPs and MLAs might also participate in the event.
Hinting at strong political patronage, they said that influential people will be inaugurating the event but the names couldn’t be made public due to the model code of conduct in place for the R K Nagar bypolls.
Allaying fears about how the sport would be regulated, organisers assured availability of medical facilities for the bulls and the participants on the ground, apart from arrangements for adequate rest for the cattle when they were being brought from Madurai, Salem and other parts of the state.