Condition of playing fields in Manipur different from UK, US: Visiting Polo players
Jorge Vasquez, captain of the US Polo team, told PTI the fields are bigger in the US and have more grass which slows down the ball but the grounds are harder in Manipur. On the condition of ponies in the northeastern state, Vasquez said they have a lot of stamina and are very tough.
Visiting polo players from the United States and the United Kingdom on Tuesday said that the condition of the playing fields in Manipur is different from those in Western countries. The players are in the northeastern state to participate in the ongoing 14th Manipur Polo International which is being hosted after a two-year break. Jorge Vasquez, captain of the US Polo team, told PTI ''the fields are bigger in the US and have more grass which slows down the ball but the grounds are harder in Manipur.'' On the condition of ponies in the northeastern state, Vasquez said they have a lot of stamina and are very tough. The ''mallet" (polo sticks) used in the West are also much longer due to bigger horses in the West, he said. Modern-day Polo originated from Manipur and was introduced by British officials who first saw Manipuri princes playing the traditional ''Sagol Kangjei'' in the mid-19th century. The word "Sagol" stands for a pony or a horse, "Kang" means a ball whereas "Jei" stands for a stick.
George Amor, who is leading the four-member UK squad, told PTI, that ''the popularity which the sport receives in Manipur is much more than what it gets in the United Kingdom.'' ''To be able to play on Manipuri ponies is a unique experience for us as the size and the strength of the ponies here are different from those of their counterparts back home'' Amor, a member of Hurlingham Polo Association, said. ''The playing grounds are much smaller here and back in the UK, the fields have more grass,'' Amor said. Polo is generally played from April to September in the UK to make the most of the weather conditions, said Amor.
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