TODAY -

Manipur Polo International
A Flavour In Sangai Festival, All Set For A Spectacular Opening

Gyanendro Ningombam *

Pana Kangjei Exhibition Match at    at 7th International Polo Tournament 2013  at the world Oldest Polo Ground, Mapal Kangjeibung :: November 28 2013
Pana Kangjei Exhibition Match at the world Oldest Polo Ground, Mapal Kangjeibung on Nov 28 2013 :: Pix - Jinendra Maibam



It is an established fact and accepted that Manipur is the birth place of Polo. It means that Manipur gave the world the game of Polo. The game of Polo (Sagol Kangjei), according to Chaitharol Kumbaba, the royal chronicle of Manipur was introduced by king Kangba, writes Gyanendro Ningombam.

The 8th Manipur Polo International, 2014 organised by Manipur Horse Riding and Polo Association, under the sponsorship of planning Department, Govt. of Manipur as a flavour of Manipur Sangai Festival is all set to rocket off to a spectacular star here at historic Mapal Kangjeibung, (Polo Ground) "The oldest living polo ground in the world".

The inaugural ceremony of this mega event, in commemoration with the 150th year of historic event where the then British Army officer Lt. Joseph Ford Sherer has taken one Manipuri Polo team to Kolkata on January 30, 1864 for an exhibition match will take place tomorrow and competition will go till 29th November 2014. Seven major teams from outside India - England, USA, Poland, South Africa, France, Mangolia and Thailand and two teams from India - India A and India B (Being formed by Manipuri players) will take part in the competition.

The MHRAPA and its organizing committee have made Herculean effort to make this historic mega event of this year landmark with the MPI will, this year, be the most memorable moment as the millennium "hype" is doing the round here and Manipuris are all poised to make every second count a memento for the new millennium.

As the tournament has assumed great significance in recent years and every edition it is fact that MHRAPA is striving to showcase and promote the best of what the state has to offer to the world in terms of popularising such historic event that offer fuller advantage of utilising Manipuri Pony (critically endanger) by all participating foreign players to accomplish their fondness of playing game of Polo with this lovely Pony - the original Polo Pony on the soil of the oldest leaving Pologround in the world.

The MHRAPA, notably, its President S. Budhachandra Singh deserves Kudos for steadfastly holding on to the concept or idea - "Save Manipuri Pony" and eventually ensuring to prove "Manipur the Birth place of Polo" that everything fell in the right place. But on the topic of Saving Pony, the only Pony Polo there are quite a questions to be examined in depth.

Since inception of this historic tournament to unify the vast world of diverse culture and language in 1991, thanks to the initiative of the then MHRAPA Dr.N. Tombi Singh, the tournament has passed through stresses and strains. But the tournament is still alive and kicking despite the galloping problems enveloping movements.

Heartening is the fact that as a concept or otherwise a mandatory the tournament transcend the intensity of combat which are something more aimed primarily to give the foreign players to make the habit of playing Polo with the Manipuri Pony- the only Polo Pony. How far MHRAPA have achieved its objectives set for in this very tournament may be a matter of debate. But undeniably it will certainly unify all polo playing countries to take up footstep for saving Manipuri Polo urgently and immediately.

One more interesting note is that this year, Doordarshan has come out to avail the facility of watching live stream of all the matches placed fort in this 8 day long competition across the globe. The tournament could, therefore be named or counted as one of the best ever tournament that we can foretaste the climax. The entire Polo loving people of this state could enthusiastically anticipating wonderful plays from the foreign teams. And add to this crowd will also have another exciting moment to witness the Indian Team B (host team) to produce a brand of Polo game that neither ingenuous nor impeccable to defend the title.

And I am admire to reflect that more than promoting the game of Polo in the soil of wondrously beautiful Shangrila called Manipuri where more than thirty ethnic brethren - Meitei, Meitei Pangal, Nagas, Kuki chin groups and other colourful communities speaking different dialects, having different culture and religion who have lived up in complete harmony over centuries and centuries, the tournament will instill in giving a massage to the masses that "Manipur is a land of Panoramic cultural tradition and excellent sports".

As the grand finale countdown of the titanic clashes. Progress forth some team will sink and some team will soar sky high and clash for supremacy will see the best team lifting the most coveted trophy "Manipur Polo cup".

Amazing however is the effort taken by MHRAPA at a far of place like Manipur to come up with an International Tournament of Polo that merits comparison with others. True, there had been many hurdles owing to one reason or the other, but the fact that Imphal, the enchanting capital of Manipur literally meaning " A Jewel land" this little corner is a veritable pradise on Earth had the best ever facilities ready before the tournament began is a tribute to the men behind the venture and people of this tiny state. Surely, it a Herculean task to cater to the need of participants, officials and people involved in this tournament. That MHRAPA had courageously geared itself to meeting the challenge was no small matter.

The 8th Manipur Polo International with a motto " Save Manipur Polo, The original Polo Pony" this year at Mapal Kangjeibung (Pologround) signaled a new reality in the history of Manipur Horse Riding and Polo Association.


* Gyanendro Ningombam wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao
The writer is the Editor of Meeyam Evening Daily. He can be reached at gyanendroningombam(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on November 22, 2014.


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