Manipur Retains International Polo Cup
The triumphant Manipur team receiving the winner's trophy from Governor Dr Ashwanikumar (L); USA team receiving the runner-up trophy from Speaker Th Lokeshwar at Mapal Kangjeibung on Thursday (R) Hueiyen Photo
Defending champion India Polo Team-B (Manipur) has once again clinched the title of 7th Manipur Polo International-2013 by defeating United States Polo Team by 5-3 goals in the final match held at Mapal Kangjeibung here today. The galleries of Mapal Kangjeibung were jam-packed with supporters of both teams at the spectacular final match. The supporters of US team were even seen holding the American National Flag.
The players of both Manipur and United States teams played very aggressively showing great dexterity in handling the mallets and also exhibited effective control over their ponies. In the first chukker of the match, the Captain of US team Mason Wroe scored the first goal against Manipur in the 4th minute. Soon, P Ojit of Manipur equalized the score in the 7th minute.
In the second chukker, P Ojit scored his second goal of the match for Manipur in the 3rd minute. Later, in the 6th minute Johnny Levine scored another goal for the United States thereby equalizing the score with Manipur. In the third chukker, Manipur led the United States by 3-2 with the addition of another goal by T Pradeep in the 1st minute. The American players tried very hard to equalize the score, but their attempts were in vain after missing some close shots.
In the fourth chukker, Peter Blake scored another goal for the United States and equalized the score with Manipur. However, P Ojit and S Bimol added another two goals for Manipur in the 6th and 7th minute respectively. The match ended with Manipur defeating the United States by 5-3 goals.
Polo might not have been in existence without Manipuri ponies: Governor
The winner and runner-up teams were given trophies and cash prizes of Rs. 50,000 and Rs. 30,000 respectively. The Best Pony Awards were also presented to the owners of three extra-ordinary ponies used for playing the tournament. Speaking at the closing ceremony of the 7th Manipur Polo International-2013 as Chief Guest, Governor of Manipur Dr Ashwani lauded the efforts of State Government and Manipur Horse Riding and Polo Association for promoting the Polo and Manipuri Ponies to the world.
He also appreciated the foreign and local teams for making the International Polo Tournament a grand success. Dr Ashwani further said that the game of Polo might not have been in existence if there were no Manipuri Ponies. Both Sangai Festival and Manipur Polo International are two big events that showcase the rich art and culture, flora and fauna of the State to the world.
He also expressed optimism that the proposed Pony Sanctuary at Heingang would help in preserving the Manipuri Ponies, which are parts and parcel of the polo game that originated from Manipur. The closing ceremony was also attended by Speaker of Manipur Legislative Assembly Th Lokeshwar as President and former Minister Dr M Nara as Guest of Honour.
Altogether five teams namely India Team-A (IPA), India Team-B (Manipur), United States, Germany and Thailand took part in the 7th Manipur Polo International organized by Manipur Horse Riding and Polo Association as a part of the ongoing Manipur Sangai Festival-2013.
Prior to the final match, 11 foreign players and three Manipuri players formed two teams namely Thangjing Pana and Marjing Pana for an exhibition match of the traditional Manipuri polo game known as “Pana Sagol Kangjei”. All players were dressed in traditional Manipuri attire of Pheijom and Reson Phurit with the headgear kokyet.