So, bird racing is a sport… right? And a really popular one at that, especially in China where the idea of birds competing in long-distance races makes people drop whatever they are doing and watch the Aves go head to head.
That's alright, we aren't judging. It is a free world and people have the right to love and feel passionate about whatever it is that makes their blood rush. What we are concerned about is how far can that passion take a man.
PIPA, an online portal that sells racing pigeons, hosted an auction that ran for two straight weeks, during which they put up Armando, the Belgian city dove, known for his accurate sense of direction and strong wings, on the auctioning booth and the world went mental.
In the five years of his existence, Armando, under the care of his trainer Joël Verschoot, 63, has gotten a reputation of being called the 'Lewis Hamilton of pigeons' and finds tricky weather conditions to be a “piece of cake” according to Verschoot's brochure.
According to his former master, Armando has been ranked number 1 in bird races for two back to back years (2017 and 2018) and was the best pigeon to have travelled across Europe for competition in 2018.
His glory was surely known to the world, more specifically in China which saw nearly half a dozen enthusiasts bidding for the champion. With hourly bids rising by €100,000 the final bid worth €1,252,000 (Rs 10 Crores, approx.) came in a couple of minutes before the closing to the auction at midnight last Sunday, according to The Guardian.
“The two Chinese had told me in advance that they absolutely wanted Armando,” Verschoot said after the auction. “But I didn't see this coming. This is a crowning glory of all those years in the pigeon sport. The icing on the cake.”
As reported by the Press Association, Nikolaas Gyselbrecht, the founder and chief executive of Pipa, said: “This pigeon has a race record that has never been matched by any other pigeon… In football terms you have Messi and Ronaldo — it's that level.”
Armando, who is nearing his retirement, will be made to breed with a “high quality hen” that is already waiting in China after being purchased for a huge amount of money.
Twitter was unable to get its mind to accept the fortune of Joël Verschoot, the bird-keeper, who is literally a 'crorepati' now.March 19, 2019
Lionel Messi of the pigeon world sells for £1,000,000 https://t.co/3MFdiA2yWX— E.Pagnotta (@OmniAlphaOmega) March 20, 2019
Armando, a racing pigeon in Belgium compared to Messi and Ronaldo, has sold for a world-record £1 million at auction.
GOAT talk. pic.twitter.com/mRoLdpMsmr
Armando is a pigeon
Armando is from Belgium
Armando has been branded the Lewis Hamilton of pigeons
Armando had been sold for £1,000,000