As many as 652 bulls and 294 bull-tamers participated in seven rounds of the event.
Madurai’s first bull-taming event of the Pongal season, the Avaniapuram jallikattu was held on January 14 amidst COVID-19 restrictions. One spectator was gored to death by a bull, and at least 80 participants were injured at the event.
The spectator, 19-year-old D. Balamurugan of Avaniapuram, was gored to death near the bull collection point. He was brought dead to Madurai Government Rajaji Hospital. Though the entry of visitors was regulated in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, local residents crowded the area near the bull collection point to watch the event. Most of them did not wear masks, and there was poor compliance to physical distancing norms.
Around 7.30 a.m., the event was flagged off by Tamil Nadu Ministers Palanivel Thiaga Rajan and P. Moorthy in the presence of Madurai MP Su. Venkatesan and Collector S. Aneesh Sekhar.
As many as 652 bulls and 294 bull-tamers participated in seven rounds of the event. The participants were allowed to compete only after they tested negative for COVID-19. RT-PCR tests were taken for participants and fitness tests for bulls to compete in the event.
The event concluded at around 5. 30 p.m.. Karthik of Avaniapuram won the first prize — a car — after he was adjudged the best bull-tamer at the event for taming 24 bulls. The bull belonging to Devasahayam was adjudged the best bull, and received a motorcycle as prize.
Adequate police personnel were deployed to ensure safety of the people. A Red Cross team assisted participants who were injured, and Animal Husbandry officials examined the bulls. Ambulances and fire engines were also deployed at the venue.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi watched the Avaniapuram jallikattu in 2021 along with DMK leader Udayanidhi Stalin.