Manipur eyeing mega Polo event
IMPHAL, December 3
After successfully organizing the 7th Manipur Polo International, Manipur Horse Riding and Polo Association (MHRPA) is eyeing to host the mega event again next year.In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the first modern polo (exhibition) match played between a Manipuri polo team and a British team at Calcutta in March 1868, MHRPA is preparing to organize 8th Manipur Polo International in a move to save Manipuri ponies from extinction, to popularize the game of polo and to promote polo tourism.
“This time we’ll be inviting the 6-8 top polo teams of the world including Argentina, UK and USA,” revealed MHRPA’s vice president Lt Colonel M Ranjit Singh (Retd). The association has also invited Britain’s Prince William, who is in the second line to the throne of England, to attend the mega event, he added.
Stating that they’re hoping the presence of the Royals of England in the forthcoming event, Vice President RK Dilip Singh of MHRPA also said that they’re proud to have Vice president Nicholas JA Colquhoun-Denvers of Federation of International Polo, the polo controlling body as their ‘god father’.
Polo, which is regarded as symbol of peaceful co-existence between man and animal, is said to have originated in Manipur. According to the 1991 Guinness Book of World Records, the origins of polo can be traced back to 3100 BC when people of Manipur played the sport as Sagol Kangjei (horse stick).
With the apprehension of vanishing game of polo in its birth place Manipur in the near future, MHRPA is all set to take up various initiatives to conserve Manipuri polo ponies. There are just 1218 ponies as per latest Livestock Census report of Manipur veterinary and animal husbandry department.
According to veteran journalist and MHRPA member N Tombiraj, the oldest known polo club was the Cachar Club founded in Assam in 1859 and oldest surviving polo club, of course, is the Calcutta Polo Club formed in 1862.