The captain of the India A team, Col Tarsem Singh Warrich’s association with horses and polo goes back a long way since his father used to play the game at Government college Lahore during pre-partition days. But, it was only after joining the NDA that Tarsem started playing the game seriously.
Before switching to polo, Col Tarsem played for the under-16 Indian hockey team. At NDA, the renowned polo player Pickle Sodhi, who was an equitation officer there spotted his potential and made him play polo. He made quick progress and was picked for IPA junior in 1986 and in 1987, he was declared the most promising player of the country by the IPA.
From here on Col Tarsem took a long break from polo as he was on army duty at Sri Lanka, incidentally Manipur and Kashmir and resumed playing only in 1995. During this period he was into show jumping and eventing and in the year 1994 won bronze in national show jumping and eventing.
In 1996, Col Tarsem went to the US as part of the Indian polo team and went on to play polo different parts of that country. There, he came in contact with Galindo and Leary family who had a polo club in Indios, California and this where Col Tarsem “picked the intricacies of high goal polo” and blossomed as a polo player.
According to Col Tarsem, what separates polo from other games is that two hearts, two bodies and two living beings have to come together to play the game effectively. Polo combines the love of animals, love of sports and ball games together. The sport grows on you and one never stops learning.
Col Tarsem jumped from -2 handicap in 1996 to +3 in 1999 and came down to +2 as his army duty did not allow him to play enough games. He greatly appreciates the effort put in by the Manipur Government and the Manipur Horse Riding and Polo Association to save the original pony and the original polo
Major Narendra Kumar, who was part of the India A team last year is back again as part of the IPA team to compete in the 11th edition of the Manipur Polo Interantional. He loves to be here again in Manipur which gave polo to the world and would like to come back again and again to this “Mecca of Polo” if he gets selected. Stating that they are here to win the tournament, Narendra believes the team is better prepared this time around.
Narendra Kumar, 36 years, holds an MA degree in Political Science and was born in Pathena village in Rajasthan. He started riding at the age of 27, after which taking up the game of polo and show jumping came as a natural progression for him and is presently a zero handicap player. After the initial guidance from his coach, Narendra developed a strong passion for the game, so much so that he now says, “this sport is part of my life and I can’t live without it.”
Daffadar Vijay Singh, 37 years of age, took up riding lessons after joining the army in 1997 and started playing polo from 2003 onwards. In a short period Vijay Singh made tremendous progress and was part of the winning Indian Army team of an army tournament held in Malaysia in 2006. He again featured in the winning India team of a four-nation tournament. Interestingly, Vijay Singh was also part of the India A team in 2014 Manipur Polo International Tournament which reached the semi-final stage.
Vijiay Singh is a 2 goals handicap player and credits his success as a polo player to his coach Brigadier S S Kashyap. He also trains horses for polo, show jumping and dressage. Besides he trains other polo player in the army including Ram Singh who is part of the present India A team.
Vijay Singh has been hearing about Manipur as the place where polo originated and feels it a great honour to be playing here.
Swur Ram Singh, 31 years old, a native of Bihar, also learned riding after he joined the army in 2005 and took to polo in 2010. And in five years time, in 2015 was selected for the Indian team to play international matches against Ghana.
Ram Singh plays for RVC and is coached by Brigadier S S Kashyap and Dfr Vijay Singh and he feels it an hounour to be playing besides his coach here in Manipur. He has lots of faith in his teammates and believes the team will do well this time around.
Ram Singh is very attached to horses and the game of polo and cannot stay away from them for long period. Even when he is on holiday and spending time with the family, if there is a game of polo he says he will rush back to play.