The new pigeon capital – the Hindu
With the doubling of the number of clubs in recent years, Chennai is one step ahead of other Indian cities in pigeon sport.
Move to Kolkata. Chennai is the new pigeon racing capital in India. With the number of clubs for the sport having doubled in recent years, the city has a beak, wings and tail ahead of the competition.
The first to appear on the nation’s pigeon racing map, Kolkata was once the destination for all enthusiasts of the recreational sport. The Calcutta Pigeon Racing Pigeons Club is India’s oldest and the city has produced a large number of legendary carrier pigeon breeders and trainers.
But today, Chennai is unmatched by the number of pigeon fanciers and its ability to promote the sport in other centers.
âChennai has eleven clubs and around 400 pigeon fanciers. But if you factor in other pigeon sports involving tumblers, tilters and show pigeons, the city has around 4,000 pigeon fanciers, âsays K. Palaniapppan, president of the New Madras Racing Pigeon Association (NMRPA). “To give a picture of how crisp Chennai is ahead of other cities with a history in pigeon racing, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kolkata have two clubs each and Pune has one.” There are around 40 homing pigeon forums around Tamil Nadu and the sport is believed to thrive in Madurai, Tiruchi, Salem, Nagercoil, Coimbatore, Tuticorin, Dindigul, Ramnad, Kilakarai and Pamban in part thanks to the support and guidance from Chennai.
Another senior member of the pigeon fraternity, RR Prasad of the Central Madras Homer Club said: manner. In the 1980s, the pigeons bred by these men were in a class of their own. They were the first to run 1,000 km races. For their expertise and their birds, Chen and Lee were in great demand. But over the past three decades, local sports patrons have made great contributions to improving the breeding qualities of pigeons and creating a situation of self-sufficiency.
All key club members in Chennai are aware and proud of the progress made since the 1970s, when two clubs – “Madras Homing Pigeon Association” and “North Madras Homing Pigeon Association” – introduced the sport to the city, but quickly grew. spat and stopped. In the 1980s, the sport was reborn thanks to the initiatives of a handful of pigeon fanciers. In fact, they went the extra mile to promote it.
Importation of breeds
âFancier Boldry imported two breeds of carrier pigeons from the United States, Strassert and Paulsion, followed by Jimmy Diaz who imported Sodenberg carrier pigeons from the United States. The Logan pigeons came from Australia, thanks to the efforts of Pat Casey, another fancier from Chennai. An enthusiast from Bangalore, Colonel Smith, imported Catrysse pigeons, which became popular in Madras, âsays Palaniappan.
âContinuing the good work, Noel Kannan brought five pairs of Silver Toye pigeons after meeting the man who cultivated the breed, Silver Toye from Belgium. RR Prasad and Rajasekharan are among others who have helped to improve the quality of pigeons competing in the city. Since a strict ban was imposed on bird imports, local pigeon fanciers have relied solely on these birds, trying a variety of combinations, such as breeding Catrysses with Paulsions, Cattrysses with Logans, Calcutta birds with Paulsions and so on.
The import ban helped to unite the various clubs in the city into a cohesive unit. âWe go to each other for good birds. We trade birds with – and also buy them from – other pigeon fanciers in town, âexplains Karate R. Easwaran, secretary of the Tamilnad Homer Pigeon Racing Association.
The South Indian Racing Pigeon Society – which brings together pigeon fanciers from all over South India for special events – is an outward expression of this unity.
Palaniappan says: âThere are many factors that contribute to this feeling of brotherhood. One of them is the need to combat outrageous misconceptions about sports. Because of its name, people associate it with other forms of racing where betting takes place. We even tried to change the name to âlong distance pigeon sportsâ to counter that notion. We run the races after obtaining no objection certificates from the Forestry Department, Veterinarians and Police Commissioner, but we still run into issues when taking the pigeons to other states. For example, we often encountered opposition from forestry officials in Andhra Pradesh and explained what sport is all about. It’s frustrating when you’re plagued by the same issues and keep clarifying the matter over and over again. For this reason, the clubs organize their races at the same time – this way we can fight together against ignorance. “
Palaniappan is hinting at a mega event next year that would bring all clubs together for a series of great races. “It marks forty years of pigeon racing in Chennai, and it’s made sweeter by the fact that the city is right there at the top.”
Two clubs – Madras Homing Pigeon Association and North Madras Homing Pigeon Association – are starting amateur sport, but they are having a tough time.
The sport is revived thanks to contributions from city pigeon fanciers Boldry, Jimmy Diaz and Pat Cassey – among them they have imported top-notch carrier pigeons Paulsion, Stassert, Sodenberg and Logan.
The decade of consolidation. Building on the good work of the previous decade, a few pigeon fanciers brought eggs of excellent carrier pigeons from other countries and incubated them here. The number of clubs increased to five and there were around 150 pigeon fanciers.
The period of expansion. The clubs work more closely. The pigeon fanciers exchange their birds more freely than before. There are 11 pigeon racing forums in Chennai – they have participated in forming groups in other towns around Tamil Nadu.