Imphal, the January 21, 2018 (DIPR):  Kenya defeated USA  by 5-4 goals in a final match  to lift the 3rd Manipur Statehood Day Women’s Polo Tournament at Mapal Kangjeibung, Imphal Pologround  today. The closing ceremony was graced by Governor of Manipur Dr. Najma Heptulla, President, All Manipur Polo Association  Dr. K. Saratchandra Singh and Chairman, Tourism Corporation of Manipur Ltd. Dr. Sapam Ranjan as Chief Guest, President and Guest of Honour respectively.

Speaking as the Chief Guest, Governor Dr. Najma Heptulla said, she considered  it her good fortune to be a part of the  Women’s Polo Tournament and what is doubly exhilarating and awe inspiring is that the game is being played at Mapal Kangjeibung which is considered the oldest living polo ground in the world.

She further said that Manipur is well-known as the birthplace of the game of polo. It had its origin in the traditional Manipuri Polo – ‘Sagol Kangjei’ and the game has evolved from the traditional to the modern form of Polo over the years. Polo or Sagol Kangjei  as played in Manipur those days had its own rules known as Kangjeirol. These rules have undergone drastic changes since then and the game is now played under the IPA rules.

The Manipur Polo International Tournament was first organised in the year, 1991 is a men’s polo tournament and the only one of its kind played on pony. The tournament is organised every year as a part of the Manipur Sangai  Festival and whereas, the present women’s tournament is the pioneering showcase of International Women’s Polo which goes to establish Manipur as India’s centre for Women’s Polo.

This Women’s Polo Tournament is also a flagship event of Manipur Tourism which aimed at promoting the state as a preferred destination for polo tourism in the world. It has been made a calendar event, held every year from 17th to 21st January and this edition has added significance as the tournament commemorates Manipur’s 47 years of statehood. It is very heartening that the current edition of the Tournament is featuring Women’s Polo teams from four continents. Women polo teams from Manipur representing India and other international teams from Australia, Kenya and USA are playing at this league tournament. The polo enthusiasts have come to this remote part of the world by their love and passion for the game. The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India has extended travel support to all the international teams for that the Governor expressed  her  thankful to the Hon’ble Union Minister of Tourism (i/c) Shri K.J. Alphons.

The Governor also said that Manipur has given Polo to the world and it is definitely a matter of pride for everyone in the state. But it is also a sad fact that the game is suffering from a serious growth deficit. The reasons could be many ranging from lack of sponsorship, high cost to competition posed by modern games. This has also caused dwindling of the number of original ponies in the state. This tournament is part of Manipur Tourism’s campaign to save the unique and endangered Manipuri pony alongwith popularizing the game of Polo in its birth place. The polo pony of Manipur, a recognized breed of India, though small, is sturdy and agile. These ponies are even now, literally semi-wild and there is tremendous pressure on them as the traditional grazing ground has shrunk. Renewed efforts need to be made to save this breed from extinction. I hope this tournament will help in highlighting this issue and lead to a more concerted effort to save the animal.

The tournament has been a grand success like its earlier editions and I am hopeful that all the players especially our friends from abroad will go back with pleasant memories of playing polo at its birthplace. I am also confident that future editions of the tournament will see more participation from different parts of the world.

Later, the Chief Guest and dignitaries presented Awards and Mementos to the winners, runners up and participating teams. Ladies on Drum by Rhythms of Manipur was also show cast as part of the closing function.

The Polo tournament which began on 17th January, 2018  was participated by Six teams including USA, Australia, Kenya, Indian Polo Association and two team representing Manipur that was conducted at Mapal Kangjeibung, the oldest pologround in the world.

The 3rd Manipur Statehood Day Women’s Polo Tournament was organised by All Manipur Polo Association and sponsored by Department of Tourism, Government of Manipur.

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