Imphal, Feb. 26 (ANI): The modern game of polo, which is played professionally in over 16 countries, has its roots in Manipur, therefore, authorities in Manipur are making efforts to revive and popularize the sport in India and rest of the world.
India’s northeastern state of Manipur has been associated with Polo game for centuries.
In other parts of the world, Polo has largely been patronized by the royalty and the upper crust of society. However in Manipur, it has always been a game of the common man.
Along with the suitable ambiance for the sport, Manipur also possesses ‘Mapal Kangjeibung’, which is one of the oldest polo grounds in the world.
Traditionally, polo is called ‘Sagol Kangjei’ and is played with seven players in each side. The players are mounted on the indigenous Manipuri pony.
“Today’s polo is a refined form of our forefather’s traditional game which is played on Manipuri pony which we call Sagol Kangjei. Sagol means Manipuri pony and Kangje means stick. Moreover, polo is associated with our culture and history. There is always a rider with a traditional Sagol Kangjei dress with decorations and everything,” said S. Budhachandra Singh, President, Manipur Horse Riding and Polo Association
Manipur is known for the breed of pony. The government has taken special measures to conserve indigenous ponies like establishing an exclusive sanctuary for them.
“If we do not reserve the razing and the practice ground immediately or give the financial assistance to the pony owner, I am very apprehensive about the existence of game,” he added.
With the renewed efforts by the government and the authorities, polo has started regaining its popularity in the state with seven annual championship events organized recently including an international championship.
Polo clubs have also increased to more than 30.
“We stopped playing for more than 10 years but recently, the game has been included in the tournament so, during Manipur statehood day celebration we played with the foreign players but we couldn’t perform well because we didn’t get time to practice and also there is a long gap that we didn’t play polo but next time we will try to perform well so, we are practicing hard,” said Khabe, a player
“These days participation team of polo has increased in the tournament. Before, when we play for the first time there were only 10 teams used to participate but now many new teams has come up and I think It will be around 20 teams we have at the present so, in my opinion polo game has developed a lot,” said Beiking Salam, another player
The efforts to revive Polo will immensely help the traditional game to get popularity among the youth and the India’s northeast region of Manipur will also be recognized in the world over. (ANI)