Manipur CM N Biren is optimistic of framing Polo Tourism policy in the State to conserve the endangered Manipuri Pony, Sagol. Polo Tourism will promote the developing tourism potential of Manipur further.
Manipur Polo International is organized every year for polo lovers from all over the world to come and play in the birthplace of Polo, said Manipur Chief Minister N Biren after declaring the 14th Manipur Polo International Open in Mapal Kangjeibung on Tuesday.
The state government will soon develop polo grounds in Imphal East, Imphal West, Thoubal and Bishnupur, CM Biren said, adding that this will ensure that district-level polo tournaments have adequate infrastructure and facilities to host the tournaments.
These polo fields will also offer our international guests the unique experience of playing polo just like our ancestors did in the distant past, he stressed. Further emphasizing the pony conservation measures taken in the state, the Chief Minister said the state government is developing a ‘Pony Reserve’ and is also assisting the Manipur Riding and Polo Association in setting up a ‘Pony Complex’. 31 acres of land allotted to them. He also noted the introduction of the “Sagol gi Police” (or Mounted Police).
CM N Biren further said that the state also believes that the conservation of Manipur pony can only be sustainable if there is a polo tourism policy and for which the government has made Manipur Polo International an integral part of the annual ‘Manipur Sangai Festival’, the biggest tourism festival in the state.
CM Biren tweeted, “Delighted to attend the inaugural function of the 14th Manipur Polo International 2022 at Mapal Kangjeibung (Pologround), Imphal West today. Over the years, this tournament has been playing a significant role in letting the world know that Polo was originated in Manipur.”
N Biren also said that the government has initiated the “Chief Minister’s First Sagol Kangjei Championship” at Manung Kangjeibung or Inner Polo Ground, which is located inside Kangla, adding, “We believe this traditional polo tournament will maintain the links between modern and traditional polo.
He said that polo is played on indigenous ponies in Manipur and that the tournament helps to create more global awareness and support for the ‘Save the Pony’ campaign in Manipur.
The Chief Minister was also optimistic that State boys will become international professional players in few years and said that the standards of the game in Manipur are improving rapidly, and we are hopeful that in few years Manipuri boys can become international professional players with the right opportunity and facilities.
Around 32 local polo teams now participate in state-level tournaments, the CM Biren added. He also said that the visit of polo teams from five continents to Manipur Polo International since 1991 has fired the imagination of Manipur’s youth and the number of polo players in Manipur has increased.
The Chief Minister said: “I have been informed that many foreign teams have been unable to participate in the tournament this year due to travel warnings or other last minute issues. They will be missed, but not their spirit.”
He also said that the government was indebted to people who cared about polo and the Manipur Pony. The Inaugural Service was attended by PWD & YAS Minister K. Govindas, Vety & Animal Husbandry, Transport Minister Kashim Vashum and MLA & MANIDCO Chairman K. Robindro among others.
The opening match was played between the UK and the Indian Navy. Cultural performances and a march past by the participating teams were the highlights of the opening show.
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