Imphal, Feb 15:
Chief Minister N. Biren Singh inaugurated the 6th Women’s International Polo Tournament today at the Mapal Kangjeibung, Imphal. The tournament which is organized by Manipur Tourism in association with All Manipur Polo Association (AMPA) will be participated by 5 teams namely South Africa, Luxembourg, India (IPA), India (Manipur-A) and India (Manipur-B).
Addressing the gathering during the inaugural ceremony of the tournament, N. Biren Singh welcomed the participating teams including Indian Women 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, he stated that the 6th edition is being organised after a gap of two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Chief Minister continued that Manipur is famous for ‘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.
N. Biren further stated Sagol Kangjei is not just a game, but it also symbolises the role of 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 Sangai Festival 2022, he expressed that the uniqueness is the use of horse, which is wild in nature, as a part of the game by our forefathers.
The Chief Minister 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 pony had been developed at Pangei and Lamphelpat, he appealed to the pony breeders to take their horses to the breeding ground so that the later do not come out at the roadside, causing disturbances to the traffic.
Concluding his speech, the Chief Minister expressed hopefulness that the tournament would go a long way in establishing the state as a polo tourism destination in India.
Speaking on 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 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 initiative.
The Minister continued that many teams from different countries had come to the State and participated in polo tournaments 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 Singh. He also 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 Manipur Indigenous Martial Arts- Thang Ta and Pung Cholom were also the highlights of the inaugural programme.
Textiles, Commerce and Industry Minister Smt. Nemcha Kipgen, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha Maharaja Leishemba Sanajaoba, Chairman, Planning and Development Authority Lourembam Rameshwor Meetei, Chairman, Manipur Electronics Development Corporation S. Kunjakeswor Singh, MLA of Hiyanglam AC Dr. Yumnam Radheshyam Singh, MLA of Moirang AC Thongam Shanti Singh, MLA of Wangoi AC Khuraijam Loken Singh, MLA of Oinam AC Irengbam Nalini Devi, President, AMPA Dr. K. Saratchandra Singh and Senior Government Officials also attended the programme among others.