Manipur Chief Minister N Biren inaugurated the 6th Women’s International Polo Tournament today at the Mapal Kangjeibung in Imphal.
The tournament is organized by Manipur Tourism in association with the All Manipur Polo Association (AMPA). Five teams namely South Africa, Luxembourg, India (IPA), India (Manipur-A), and India (Manipur-B) will be participating in the 6th Women’s International Polo Tournament.
Addressing the gathering during the inaugural ceremony of the tournament, N Biren welcomed the participating teams including Indian Women’s Polo teams and international teams from Luxembourg and South Africa to the State. Mentioning that the Women’s International Polo Tournament is being organized at Mapal Kangjeibung every year, Biren stated that the 6th Women’s International Polo Tournament is being organized after a gap of two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Biren continued that Manipur is famous for Sagol Kangjei ‘Polo’ and the state is regarded as the birthplace of modern polo and added that the people of Manipur are proud of their forefathers for having gifted this game to the world. Such a tournament would not only help in projecting the state as the birthplace of the game but would also serve as a platform to promote the importance of preserving the game and the endangered breed of Manipuri Pony.
CM N Biren further stated Sagol Kangjei is not just a game, but it also symbolizes the role of the Manipuri pony and the techniques of warfare possessed by the Manipuri soldiers in defending the sovereignty of Manipur during the olden days. Manipuri ponies had always been a part of the State’s civilization and its culture, he added.
Mentioning that Chief Minister’s Sagol Kangjei Championship had been started during the Manipur Sangai Festival 2022, Biren expressed that the uniqueness is the use of the horse, which is wild in nature, as a part of the game by our forefathers.
Biren continued that, considering the importance of preserving the endangered horse breed “pony”, the Manipur Police Department had introduced the Sagol Police. Apart from this, 10 horses will be reared at each Battalion of Manipur Police.
Informing that breeding grounds for ponies had been developed at Pangei and Lamphelpat, he appealed to the pony breeders to take their horses to the breeding ground so that the latter does not come out at the roadside, causing disturbances to the traffic.
Concluding his speech, Chief Minister N Biren expressed hopefulness that the tournament would go a long way in establishing the state as a polo tourism destination in India.
The State Youth Affairs and Sports Minister, Govindas Konthoujam speaking on the occasion stated that different Sagol Kangjei and Polo tournaments had been started at various places of Manipur under the initiative of the Chief Minister, to promote the game and to preserve the endangered horse breed. He added that the people of Manipur should appreciate the Chief Minister for such an initiative.
Govindas further said that many teams from different countries had come to the State and participated in this edition of the Women’s International Polo Tournament organized on different occasions. It shows that the game is becoming popular day by day, which is a dream come true for Chief Minister N Biren. He also extended his best wishes to the participating teams.
During the inaugural function, Chief Minister N Biren hoisted the flag of the All Manipur Polo Association. Band display by the 1st Battalion Manipur Rifles band and showcase of Manipur Indigenous Martial Arts- Thang-Ta and Pung Cholom were also the highlights of the inaugural program.
The inaugural event of the 6th Women’s International Polo Tournament was attended by Textiles, Commerce, and Industry Minister Nemcha Kipgen, Rajya Sabha MP Maharaja Leishemba Sanajaoba, Chairman, Planning and Development Authority Lourembam Rameshwor Meetei, Chairman, Manipur Electronics Development Corporation S. Kunjakeswor, MLA of Hiyanglam AC Dr. Yumnam Radheshyam, MLA of Moirang AC Thongam Shanti, MLA of Wangoi AC Khuraijam Loken, MLA of Oinam AC Irengbam Nalini, President, AMPA Dr. K. Saratchandra and Senior Government Officials also attended the program among others.