Mon, February 16, 2009
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India celebrates rural sports

2009-02-16 08:18:58 GMT2009-02-16 16:18:58 (Beijing Time)  Reuters

INTRO: The annual Rural Olympics in Kila Raipur offers events from bullock cart racing to bicycle lifting by mouth.

MOREINFO: The four-day event was first held in 1933 and has been growing ever since in India's northern Punjab.

SCRIPT:

Teeth feature very prominently at India's Rural Olympics.

Some of this year's athletic contenders have been wowing the crowds by holding ploughs in their jaws.

Others have stuck with the more conventional 'bicycle in the mouth' approach.

Darshan Singh's speciality is having people stand on his stomach in the name of rural sports.

SOUNDBITE: Darshan Singh, Rural Olympics athlete, saying (Punjabi):

"I started practising this with my younger brother when we were kids and this game developed into a major passion."

India's annual celebration of less traditional sporting activities began in 1933 and has been growing ever since.

Bhim Singh's family has been taking part for generations.

SOUNDBITE: Bhim Singh saying (Punjabi):

"This is one of the oldest stunts performed at the Kila Raipur games. My father used to do it. I learned it from him and now I've taught my children so they can carry on the family tradition."

The Rural Olympics is a showcase of the nation's more niche activities although it does include some of the more mainstream ones too.

Bullock cart and mule racing are also a big draw for the thousands who flock to the games at Kila Raipur every year, keeping alive many years of tradition.

Paul Chapman, Reuters

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