India’s only women polo tournament – the 5th edition of Manipur Statehood Day Women’s Polo Tournament – concluded at Mapal Kangjeibung, the oldest living polo ground in the world at Imphal.

This time, the Great Britain women polo team won the coveted title by defeating last year’s runners-up United States of America (USA) 5-2 in the final match on Tuesday afternoon.

In the semi-final matches, USA beat host Manipur while Great Britain defeated the defending champion Argentina team.

The women polo tournament, organized by the All Manipur Polo Association (AMPA) and produced by Polo Yatra under the sponsorship of the tourism department, began on January 17.

Four women polo teams from four foreign countries – USA, Great Britain, Argentina, and Egypt – participated in the tournament along with the Manipur team and the Indian Polo Association’s women team.

The tournament is a part of Manipur Tourism’s campaign to save the unique and endangered Manipuri pony and also to promote polo tourism in Manipur – the birthplace of modern polo.

Manipur governor Najma Heptulla was present during the closing and prize distribution ceremony which was attended by AMPA president K Saratchandra Singh, other officials and functionaries of the Manipur Horse Riding and Polo Association and others.

Addressing the closing function, governor Heptulla appreciated the tourism department for organising the tournament for the last few years successfully.

Heptulla said since polo is the heritage of Manipur, its revival in the state is not only a necessity but also the duty of every Manipuri.

The revival of polo in Manipur depends on the success with which it can meet the contemporary needs.

Expressing her happiness on the establishment of a Pony Sanctuary at Heingang in Imphal East district, the governor said this is indeed a very good step taken up by the government to preserve the rare pony.

In his presidential speech, Saratchandra said most of the Manipuris, irrespective of their age and gender, like the game of polo, which is also the state game.

Women polo in Manipur was started in the late 1980s and the Manipur Statehood Day Women’s Polo Tournament is organized for promotion of this game with the motto – ‘Women polo, women power’.

The closing function was marked by the performance of traditional cultural shows such as Pena Yakairol, Maibi Jagoi, Pung Cholom, and Thang-ta.

Sobhapati Samom

Sobhapati Samom is Northeast Now Correspondent in Imphal. He can be reached at: ssamom@gmail.com