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‘Will carry back very fond memories’ – Australian team

by IT Web Admin
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Imphal, Nov. 26:  The captain of the Australian team Jock Mackay, 35 years of age a resident of New South Wales, Australia. He is a 3rd generation polo player following in the footsteps of his grandfather Ken Mackay who was a 6 goals polo player and his father Jamie Mackay, an eight goal player. Jock himself has a handicap of 4 goals and has represented Australia on ten occasions.
Jock Mackay started riding a horse at the age of four and played his first tournament when he was only nine years of age. Obviously for Jock, his father and grandfather was an inspiration for taking up the game. What also attracted him to the sport was the speed, and combination of skills and horsemanship.
Jock finds it a privilege to be playing at the oldest living pologround in the world here in Mapal Kangjeibung. Riding the Manipuri pony he finds it fun and amazing, being short and closer to ground hitting the ball becomes easier but at the same time he finds controlling it a bit of a problem. Jock considers it very important to take up steps to save the Manipuri pony as it is a very important part of polo history.
Scott Kennedy Green, 46, is an Auctioneer and lives in WeeWaa in New South Wales, Australia. Although Scott started riding a horse at a very early age of four, he took the game of polo almost four decades later at the age of 42. He credits one of his friends for convincing  him to take up the game after which he got hooked to it. He has a handicap of -1 goal. What he loves most about polo is the connection between man and horse.
Another member of  the Australian squad is Hugh Parry-Okeden, 43 years of age is a resident of Sydney . he has a zero handicap and started riding when he attained the age of eight and began playing polo at the age of 26.
As with other polo players, Hugh is also attracted to polo because of the speed at which it is played. Polo also gives him an opportunity to meet people from all over the world and make friends. He feels the ponies could do much better with a little more training. Hugh feels his team stands a good chance in the remaining matches of the tournament if they get some good ponies. Adam Tolhurst who has a degree in Property Economics is a 4 goals player. He has so far represented Australia 12 times so far. His father as also his sister Amenda play the game and all of them enjoy playing the game as a team. Speed and team work is what attracts Adam to polo. Another thing which he loves about the game is that there is no age restriction in polo. For Adam coming here has been a “fantastic experience” and he really appreciates the “generosity of the people of Manipur”. He is also looking forward to “many more years of Manipuri Polo Pony”.  
He finds the ongoing tournament very tough and the organizers very fair and open with the rules of the game. He is hoping to make it the semifinals (which Australia has already done) and among the teams feels Manipur will be a tough team to beat.
Beau Blundell, 42 runs a Thoroughbred Horse Racing and Polo Farm and resides in Hunter Valley, Sydney. He is a semi-professional polo player with a handicap of two goals. He is the President of the Wirrangulla Polo club in Dungog, New South Wales, which has 15 playing members and 150 social members. Incidentally, Beau is also the president of the NSW Polo Association.
Like many polo players, Beau’s association with horses started at the young age of six when he started riding them but it was only at the age of 22 that he took to polo. The initial attraction towards polo was because of his uncle who used to play the game. But what got him really interested in polo was the horsemanship with multiple horses and the hand eye combination involved.
Beau was all praise for the hospitality extended by the organizers as also the people in general and he is “unexpectedly having a very good time”.
On riding the Manipuri ponies, Beau says “found it hard to start with but now we are getting used to them, it is challenging but is the same for all foreign teams”. He feels England, Australia are teams to watch out while “the local team is definitely the favourite”. 
Stating that that getting to represent the country at such level of polo is a once in a lifetime opportunity”, Beau stated he is very honoured to be here and  “carry back very fond memories of the place”. 

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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