Imphal: The United Kingdom team is led by George Amor, who had come here before for the 12th edition of the Manipur Polo International, 2018. George Amor was born on January 27, 1990, in Somerset, England. He has a degree from Royal Agricultural University, Gloucestershire. At present, he owns Sats Polo which sells polo equipment.
George started riding at a very early age and was into polo by the age of 14 years. A 2-goal player, he spent a year in Barbados playing polo. Besides playing polo all over England, he has also played in Argentina and France.
The love of sports and horses was what attracted George to polo. “Polo is not just a game but a lifestyle, polo is for life and it is the best thing in the world. I get excited before every game”, said George.
George, who was here in 2018, says he is excited to be back in Manipur and remembers the warm and welcoming nature of the Manipuri people. “Having lost out twice in the final, we expect to be third time lucky,” added George as the team gets set to begin their campaign
The second member, Phil Seller, 31 years of age is a professional polo player from Hentfort, United Kingdom and is presently living in Cambridge. He is a two-goal player and has represented England on three different occasions including the present trip here. Phil started playing polo at the early age of 12 years.
It is Phil’s third time in Manipur as he also represented England in the 10th and 11th editions of the Manipur Polo International Tournament.
The love of outdoor life was what attracted Phil to polo. He started playing with some Argentines who appeared to him like cowboys on horses.
Phil is excited to be back, he fondly remembers the hospitality of the people of Manipur and the fun experiences he had. Meanwhile, he has been playing for Jindal Panthers of Delhi and traveled with the team to Jaipur and Mumbai.
Phil feels they have got a good team and that they will try their best to win the tournament.
Tucker brothers –Jack and Henry from South-West England, Cirencester make up the rest of the UK team. Henry Tucker, 38 years, professionally trains horses for polo, show jumping, cross-country races and hunting. Henry was just around four years when he first started riding ponies and took up show jumping and cross-country racing before giving it all up to concentrate on polo at the age of 14.
A 2-goaler, Henry has played in Spain, Argentina, New Zealand and France. He feels quite blessed to be playing in the oldest living polo ground in the world, the Mapal Kangjeibung in Imphal, the capital of Manipur.
The speed and agility of the horses and the bond you share with them are what attracted Henry to the game of polo. He believes horses are 90% of the game, “no matter how good you are at hitting the ball if you can’t get to it, you won’t get the chance to show your skill”.
For Henry, the biggest challenge in this tournament is getting used to the horses, “we need to adapt to a different style of riding them”. According to him, Manipuri ponies are smaller, compact, fiery and full of attitude.
As for younger brother Jack playing alongside him, Henry feels it will be a plus point for the team as, “we have played a lot together; know each other’s strength and weaknesses.
Unlike elder sibling Henry, Jack didn’t quite like horses when he was younger. But there was no running away from horses and polo for him what with his elder brother and both parents Bill Tucker and Jane being all polo players. Jack recalls how the Tucker family played a challenge match.
A one-goal handicap player, Jack was initially coached by his brother and by Jeremy Barber of Millfield School. At present, he is living in Norway where he is the sales manager of a fish farm.
Jack finds the Manipuri pony much smaller than he had expected but “they are incredibly strong” given that the pony he was riding in a practice match carried his weight of 85 kgs with ease.