Team Argentina take the BSE cup of the 4th Manipur statehood day women’s polo tournament 2019 over team USA
Team Argentina prevailed over Team USA in a nail-biting shoot-out after tying 6-6 at the thrilling end of the 4thchukka of the finals of the 4thManipur Statehood Day Women’s Polo Tournament, presented by Manipur Tourism, produced by Polo Yatra, and organised by the All Manipur Polo Association. Incredible India extended international travel support, with additional international travel assistance courtesy of Emma Horne Travel. All the teams, as well as the grooms, were custom designed and outfitted by US Polo Assn.Additional support was given by BSE and Tranzpatkai.
In the final match, Catalina Ayerza scored 3 goals for the winning side; captain Elina Braun put away 2 goals; and Delfina Donovan was good for 1 goal. For Team America, Anna Winslow Palacios led the scoring with 4 goals and Stephanie Colburn scored 2 goals.
The clash of the two polo giants of the world for the BSE Cup, the winner’s trophy of India’s only international women’s polo tournament, presented by Manipur Tourism, took place at MapalKangjeibung Polo Ground, Imphal, and was played on Manipuri Ponies.
Winning Team Argentina was led by captain Elina Braun, her teammates Mora Aldao, Delfina Donovan, Martina Garrahan, Victoria Mihanovich, and coach Catalina Ayerza. Captain Cindy Halle led Runner-up Team USA, with teammates Megan Carter Judge, Stephanie Massey, Anna Winslow Palacios, Carolyn Stimmel, and group leader/coach Ed Armstrong. Team Canada was composed of Hailey van der Burgt (captain), Jenna Tarshis, Catie van Bakel, Jessica Wales, Selina Watt, and coach Tammy van der Burgt. Rowena Stichbury, captain and coach led team Kenya, with Phylippa Gulden, Cheza Millar, Georgina Millar, and Hiromi Nzomo. The Indian Polo Association sent a team for the second year in a row, made up of captain Monica Saxena, Mriganka Singh, Abigail Slater and Sanya Suhag. The home team of Manipur was captained by Laishram Thadoi Chanu, and Khungdongbam Habe Devi, Khungdongbam Deventy, Oinam Victoria, RK Neelu and Thoudam Tanna Devi.
Ricardo Mihanovich, Director of the Federation of International Polo (FIP), gave away the “Polo Yatra Award for the Most Improved Team”, selected in conjunction with Edward Armstrong of the American International Polo Federation, to Team Manipur. Tanna Thoudam was also chosen “Best Manipuri Player”. ThangongArangba of X Polo Club and Kona Thoiba of KM&M Riding School jointly won the Best Pony Award.
The winner of a 13-team ladies’ tournament in Buenos Aries called the Manipur Cup, established by the Asociación Argentina de Polo (AAP), was the basis of the selection of the Argentine team. “When we received the invitation to participate in the Manipur Statehood Day Women’s Polo Tournament, we were very serious in supporting it and organizing a team to represent Argentina. One of the goals of the AAP is to further develop women’s polo in Argentina and anywhere we can help. To select the players to travel to India, the AAP organized a tournament at the Association’s fields in Pilar called “Copa Manipur”, said Marcos Aldao, Operations Director of the Asociación Argentina de Polo. “The prize to travel to India to represent Argentina was irresistible. Thirteen teams signed up and the winning team of the Manipur Cup traveled to Manipur. The AAP would like to thank all institutions and people involved in the organization.” The winning team was Las Betulas- Polo Fucci, composed of Catalina Lavigna, Jazmín Trotz, Victoria Mihanovich, Elina Braun, supplemented by Martina Hartan and Mora Aldao to complete the final Argentine national team.
The Opening Night Gala included the Indian premiere of Kahini Media’s production, “Daughters of the Polo God”, directed by Roopa Barua, and presented by Manipur Tourism. Winner of the Festival Directors Award and Best Documentary (Short) Award at its world premiere at the Equus Film Festival in New York in December 2018, the film on Manipur’s equine culture and the women polo players of Manipur, and their encounter with Team USPA Women in the 1st Manipur Statehood Day Women’s Polo Tournament in 2016, was attended by the Manipuri women polo players themselves and their counterparts from Argentina, Canada, Indian Polo Association, Kenya and the US. The premiere was followed by a dinner hosted by Manipur Tourism.
The concern for the preservation of the Manipuri Pony shared by all polo players in Manipur and in the rest of the world ever since the advent of the United States Polo Association in 2013, was the focus of “Conservation of the Manipuri Pony”, a round table discussion organised by the Centre for Manipur Studies of Manipur University. Led by faculty members of the university, the discussion was attended by representatives of Huntre! Equine, the parent body of Poo Yatra as well as the Manipuri Pony Society, the Manipur Horse Riding and Polo Association, and team members from the American, Canadian, Kenyan and Argentinian contingents. The first discussion on the welfare of this Endangered Breed, now numbering less than 500, was graced by the His Excellency, Daniel Chuburu, Ambassador of Argentina to India, and Ricardo Mihanovich, Director of the Federation of International Polo (FIP), based in Buenos Aires.
Polo Yatra is the women’s polo initiative for India of Huntre! Equine, a social enterprise of sports and culture, based in Imphal and Mumbai. A stick-and-ball game in Jaipur by the Kenyan team at the farmhouse of Col. KS Garcha before the Manipur Tournament opened the 2019 edition of Polo Yatra. It closed with the Los Polistas International Women’s Polo Cup, an arena polo game co-presented by Amateur Riders’ Club (ARC) and Polo Yatra at the former’s arena field at Mahalaxmi in Mumbai on Friday, January 25, with sponsorship by Los Polistas, CIROC and ARC, with hospitality courtesy of St. Regis Mumbai. This first women’s polo game in Mumbai featured players from the US, including Cindy Halle, Megan Carter Judge, Anna Winslow Palacios, and Carolyn Stimmel; and Ashley Parekh and Rina Shah from India. The game, which also launched the Los Polista line of polo fashion that was presented on a catwalk by international models between chukkers, saw an 8-8 draw between the mixed Team India and Team USA sides. The Edelweiss MVP Award was presented to Anna Winslow Palacios by Rujan Panjwani, Executive Director of Edelweiss Financial Services.