Madurai: An 18-year-old spectator was fatally gored by a raging bull at the Avaniyapuram Jallikattu here on Friday. The popular bull- taming competition held on Pongal day in the district left about 59 people, including tamers, bull owners and spectators injured.

The teenager, Balamurugan from Madurai, was gored in the chest by a bull, said police. He was rushed to the Government Rajaji Hospital where he was declared as brought dead by the doctors, a senior police official said.

The day-long traditional sport, which concluded at about 5.10 PM, saw Karthik from Avaniyapuram emerging on top by taming 24 bulls.

“I wish I had tamed a couple more to cross the quarter- century mark,” an exalted Karthik said. Last year, he tamed 16 bulls. He lifted the trophy as the best tamer for this season and won a car.

Bull-tamers Murugan and Bharat Kumar of Madurai, who overpowered 19 and 11 bulls, respectively, won the second and third prize. Not just the tamers, animals also won prizes. The bull belonging to Devasagayam of Manapparai was adjudged the best bull as none succeeded in taming him. The one belonging to Ramu of Avaniyapuram and another bull owned by Pratish of Avaniyapuram were adjudged the second and third best, respectively.

Nearly 641 bulls stormed into the arena at Avaniyapuram here on Friday, signalling the commencement of the jallikattu competitions during the Pongal (harvest) festival in the district.

Though the events are held in other parts of Tamil Nadu, the three successive Jallikattu events in the district are major attractions every year.

Several sponsors offered attractive prizes such as a two-wheeler, TV, gold coins, mixer, grinder and cooking vessels to encourage the participants.

Commercial Taxes Minister P Moorthy and Finance Minister P T R Palanivel Thiagarajan flagged off the Jallikattu in the presence of Madurai district collector S Aneesh Sekhar.

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