30th November 2018 | Manipur
The 12th Manipur Polo International was organised as a part of the Manipur Sangai Festival
The players have geared up and are getting on the back of their horses. The umpires are ready to officiate the match. The scoreboard has been set up, the match officials are seating themselves up when the chief guests enter the stands. Players are pumped and are practising for an important match. The space in the stands is now filled with people. Intense expressions could be seen on excited faces in the stands. The players have been practising for a few minutes when umpires arrive on the field. The crowd sits back, the scoreboard is set, the players have massed around the umpire, the umpire blows the whistle, the trepidation for the match is doubled and the play for the finals begin.
The Manipur Polo International was organised as a part of the Manipur Sangai Festival. The tournament is played according to the Indian Polo Association’s rules at Mapal Kangjeibung, Manipur. The final Manipur Polo International was played between India B and England on 29 Nov at the Imphal polo ground. India B, who didn’t lose a single match in the tournament were ready to face their arch-rivals, England for the second time in the tournament. The players of both the teams were ready to showcase their skills to win the tournament.
India B and England went head to head in an intense final. The match was very close till the first half but India B took off in the second half and lifted the Manipur Polo International trophy after defeating England by 7 - 4. The closing ceremony was graced by Governor of Manipur, Dr Najma Heptulla, Speaker Y Khemchand Singh and P Saratchandra Singh as Chief Guest, President and Guest of Honour respectively. “Manipur, though relatively a small state, is the powerhouse of sports,” said the governor of Manipur, Najma Heptulla. She further stated that, Manipur, although a small state, is the powerhouse of sports which has produced Olympians like Mary Kom who recently won Gold Medal in Women’s World Boxing Tournament for the sixth time.
The match was drawn at 4 - 4 in the third chukker but India B pulled up their reign and scored two back to back goals to get India B ahead in the game. A mind-blowing final came to an end with India B as the winners. England rider George Shelton said, “I am having a wonderful time playing at the birthplace of polo and its historic Mapal Kangjeibung. It is an experience of a lifetime and I will cherish it forever. It is nice to be in the final match but sadly we lost to a better team.”