Imphal, Dec. 6 : Manipur recently hosted an international polo championship to popularise the game in India and rest of the world.
The modern game of Polo has its roots in Manipur. Today, the sport is played professionally in over 16 countries.
Manipur’s capital Imphal came alive with breathtaking strokes from Polo teams from India, USA, England, Thailand and Australia.
Recently, the ninth Manipur Polo International Tournament concluded at Mapal Kangjeibung in Imphal.
Held under the aegis of Manipur Horse Riding and Polo Association, the competition attracted many visitors.
“In olden days, wherever there were horses, there was game like polo. Polo, which is being played right now in the world, has been originated in Manipur and that was learned by Captain Stewart from Cachar and he started the world’s first club. I don’t think there is any dispute in the origin of the modern polo that it Manipur,” said Colonel (Retd.) Ranjit Singh, Organizing Secretary.
“Manipur is the birthplace of polo but in the early 1970s interest in Polo was reduced drastically. And we used ponies only for polo so their population had also come down. But because of the Manipur horse riding and Polo Association taking interest in Polo, pony population has increased and now we have 34 polo clubs and hence the pony population has also increased,” he added.
Foreign players were thrilled by the enthusiasm among locals towards the sport.
A British player got nostalgic as his grandfather used to play polo here during the British rule in India.
“It’s wonderful to come here and I have seen my grandfather here. I enjoy and who so ever wins and the main thing is to enjoy something out of history,” said Marcus, a player from England.
Some of the visiting foreign teams invited Manipur to come and play tournaments in their country.
“We should welcome Manipur people to come to Thailand to play polo. The important thing is polo should be bringing people together and that is something good Manipur and polo bring people together. And that’s very important,” said Reggy, Polo Coach from Thailand. (ANI)