Imphal: Team India-B, which featured only Manipuri riders, beat England 6-5 on Friday and emerged as the winner of the 13th edition of the Manipur International Polo Tournament 2019 at the historic Mapal Kangjeibung in Imphal.
The winning team took away a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh with certificates and medals, whereas the runners-up team, England, received prize money of Rs 50,000 with certificate and medals, respectively.
Organised by Manipur Horse Riding and Polo Association (MHRPA) as part of popularising the ongoing state-level Sangai Festival, the grand finale of the prestigious tournament was graced by Manipur governor Najma Heptulla in the presence of education minister Th Radheshyam, PHED minister L Dikho and other state officials.
Polo is considered to be one of the indigenous games of Manipur.
The love for polo can be visibly seen with hundreds of the polo lovers from the state converging at the venue and witnessing the historic match at the venue, which is said to be the oldest polo ground in use in the world.
Addressing the gathering after the final match, governor Heptulla said the Manipuri pony which is one of the five recognised breeds of ponies and horses in India is under threat as their numbers are slowly decreasing.
Heptulla also mentioned that pony sanctuary which is at Heingang is a state initiative in preserving the almost extinct breed. “Preserving and protecting our pony is the responsibility of all citizens of the state and they should be cared for properly,” she added.
Congratulating the winning team and the entire participants of the prestigious tournament, minister L Dikho also urged the gathering to promote harmony and peace through sports across the world in general and the state in particular in days to come.
During the awards ceremony, SBI also donated Rs 5 lakh to the Manipur Horse Riding and Polo Association (MHRPA).
In this year’s edition, five teams were featured, including England, France, USA, Team India-A and Team India-B which is being held from November 24 to 29.