Imphal: Manipur Governor Anusuiya Uikey has said that polo is associated with the history and culture of Manipur, and this has to be nurtured and developed in the world.
She was speaking at the closing function of the 30th Governor’s Cup Invitation Polo Tournament and the 19th Governor’s Cup Women’s Polo Tournament, both held today at Imphal Polo Ground (Mapal Kangjeibung).
The Governor said, polo is a highly disciplined sport, and there is ample scope to showcase talent and learn the spirit of discipline. Players’ passion for success and pursuit of excellence have become integral parts of the game.
The Governor continued that since ponies are equal partners of players in this particular game, their upkeep and proper maintenance need to be reiterated. The state government has already established a pony sanctuary at Heingang, near the temple of Lord Marjing in the Imphal East district. It is indeed a good step to preserve this rare species. The governor appealed to the pony owners to keep their ponies in the sanctuary and not allow them to roam on the road.
Governor Anusuiya Uikey further said, Manipur, though a relatively small state, is indeed popularly known as the powerhouse of sports in the country. But, Manipuri Polo is yet to gain momentum on the national scene.
The present-day game of polo originated from the traditional Manipuri Polo-Sagol Kangjei. Manipur polo International, a tournament approved by the Indian Polo Association, is the only one of its kind played on the pony. She said the tournament is unique not only because it is played on a Manipuri pony but also because it is played at the historic oldest polo ground in the world-Mapal Kangjeibung or Imphal Pologround.
Lauding the participation of women in polo, the governor said the state has produced many women polo players who have excelled in this discipline in the country. She expressed confidence that women polo players will be able to bring laurels to the state in the future. She congratulated the Manipur Horse Riding & Polo Association for their initiative in organising the tournament. She also congratulated the winning teams and all other participating teams in the tournament.
The Governor also announced that the cash amount given to the winners of the tournament will be increased to Rs. 1.5 lakh from next year. She also handed over the trophy and cash award to the winners of the tournament.
Education Minister Th. Basantakumar Singh, while presiding over the closing function, said the present-day Polo originated in Manipur. Originally called Sagol Kangjei, it is one of the indigenous games of Manipur and is associated with the Manipuri Pony. Steps have been taken up to conserve pony, he added.
Hony President, Manipuri Pony Society, Prof. Ch. Priyoranjan Singh; former President, Manipur Equestrian Association, Dr Joy; Vice-President MHRPA, RK Dillip; Chairman Manipur Equestrian Association; Chairman Manipur Equestrian Association, N Bedajit Singh; other officials, and players attended the closing function.