'Rural Olympics' attracts stuntmen, performers from across India
February 4, 2018 | 1:26 PM
by Times News Service

Men dragging cars with their hair, a hundred meter dash for over 65s, and, of course, a tractor wheel pushing race — Just some of the events in the annual rural Olympics in India's northern Punjab state where thousands of people from across the country gathered on Saturday to compete in some conventional and not-so conventional pursuits.

Everything from traditional Sikh 'Gatka' martial arts to dog racing.

Gurmail Singh showed off his unique talents by doing a handstand on a glass bottle. He says, "I'm disabled but I do this bottle act despite my disability to make some money. I don't have any other means of earning. I've been performing at festivals like this since I was a child."

But Singh had a lot of competition in the originality department, with men lifting bricks with their teeth and lifting weights with their head.

The sports festival has been running since 1933 and once only attracted a local audience. But now Indians come from around the country to get a window into rural life and culture.

The games go on for three full days and include familiar sports like hockey and athletics. But there couldn't be a countryside event without tractor racing.

The event's organisers say they want to keep Punjabi traditions and culture alive and get youngsters in touch with their roots.

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