Chief Minister N Biren Singh inaugurated the 6th Women International Polo Tournament today at Mapal Kangjeibung, Imphal.
The tournament organized by Manipur Tourism in association with All Manipur Polo Association (AMPA) is participated by five teams – South Africa, Luxembourg, India (IPA), India (Manipur-A) and India (Manipur-B) .
Addressing the gathering during the inaugural ceremony, N Biren Singh welcomed the participating teams including Indian Women Polo teams and international teams.
Mentioning that the Women’s International Polo Tournament is being organized at Mapal Kangjeibung every year, he stated that the 6th edition is being organised after a gap of two years due to the Covid pandemic.
The Chief Minister continued that Manipur is famous for ‘Polo’ and the State is regarded as the birthplace of modern polo.
Adding that the people of Manipur are proud of their forefathers for having gifted this game to the world, N Biren said that holding 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 Manipuri pony.
N Biren further stated that Sagol Kangjei is not just a game as it symbolises the role of Manipuri pony and the techniques of warfare of 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 Kangei Championship had also been started during the Sangai Festival 2022, he added that the uniqueness of the game is the use of horse, which is wild in nature by ‘our forefathers’ .
The Chief Minister continued that considering the importance of preserving the endangered “pony”, the Manipur Police Department had introduced the Sagol Police.
Apart from this, 10 horses will be reared at each Battalion of Manipur police, he added.
Informing that breeding grounds for pony had been developed at Pangei and Lamphelpat, he appealed to the pony breeders to take their horses to the breeding ground.
Concluding his speech, the Chief Minister expressed hope that the tournament would go a long way in establishing the State as a polo tourism destination in India.
At the occasion, Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Govindas Konthoujam stated that different Sagol Kangjei and Polo tournaments had been started at various places of the State to promote the game and preserve the endangered horse breed.
He also said that the people of Manipur should appreciate the Chief Minister for taking up many initiatives to protect the pony.
The Minister continued that many teams from different countries had come to the State and participated in polo tournaments organized on different occasions.
The game is becoming popular day by day, which is a dream come true for the Chief Minister, he said and extended his best wishes to the participating teams.
During the inaugural function, the Chief Minister hoisted the flag of All Manipur Polo Association.
Band display by 1st Battalion Manipur Rifles band and showcase of martial arts- Thang Ta and Pung Cholom were also the highlights of the inaugural programme.
Textiles, Commerce and Industry Minister Nemcha Kipgen, Rajya Sabha MP Leishemba Sanajaoba, Chairman of Planning and Development Authority L Rameshwor Meetei, Chairman of Manipur Electronics Development Corporation S Kunjakeswor Singh, MLAs Dr Yumnam Radheshyam Singh, Thongam Shanti Singh, Khuraijam Loken Singh, Irengbam Nalini Devi and president of AMPA Dr K Saratchandra Singh and Senior Government officials also attended the programme among others.