India’s first Coracle Regatta (Putti Race) was greeted with perfect weather conditions with a light breeze, a rippled water surface and a wonderful combination of cloud cover and peeping sunlight. A great start to the Telangana Formation Day celebrations being managed by Telangana Tourism and the Department of Culture.
The 10 professional paddlers from rural Srisailam did three rounds of singles and another three rounds of doubles in closely fought races with the first three finishing within seconds of each other in both rounds.
Having never raced Coracles before or even paddled them at high speed the professionals from Srisailam were surprised at to how exhausting a simple 500 metre race can be but they paddled with a childlike enthusiasm determined to win.
It was outstanding to see the veteran paddler Mohammad Ismail heaving away at the front of the pack at the ripe old age of 61 but he was unfortunately disqualified for not having touched the half way mark before returning.
At the age of 24 Masoom Gangaputra was the youngest paddler and he won the pairs along with Pullaiah.
In the ferociously fought individual event there was a tie between Pullaiah and Ramakrishna and Pullaiah was declared first due to more wins.
This event is a starting point and Telangana Tourism intends to invite at least a hundred paddlers from across the state of Telangana for a Gran Coracle Regatta during the Buthkamma Festival this September.
“The atmosphere at the racing was electric and I am sure this can become an international sport with Telangana taking the lead”, said Suheim Sheikh of the Yacht Club who initiated the idea of India’s first Coracle Regatta.
The Coracles will be on display during the day and illuminated at night on June 2 between the Buddha and Tank bund as part of the celebrations and citizens will be treated to a grand firework display and an on the water Laser show.