IMPHAL, January 17: Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh today inaugurated the 1st Manipur Statehood Day Women’s Polo Tournament, 2016 at historic Mapal Kangjeibung, (Polo ground) Imphal.
The inaugural ceremony was also attended by Deputy Chief Minister, Gaikhangam, PHED, Labour and Employment, Minister, I Hemochandra, HAC Chairman Dr Chaltonlien Amo, Stere Armour of USPA, officials of All Manipur Polo Association and senior Government officials.
Addressing the opening event, Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, said that he Manipur is honoured with the presence of team USPA women who have come all the way from USA to join the endeavour to promote women’s polo.
The Chief Minister further said that he was proud to put it on record that Manipur is the only state in India that has women’s polo teams adding that events like this will help promotion of tourism in the state, he said.
Noting that Manipur was granted statehood on January 21, 1972, the tournament will be the befitting way to mark the occasion, asserted the Chief Minister.
Upholding the title given to Manipur as the sports powers house of India, Ibobi observed that the tournament will further help strengthen Manipur’s position in the field.
“We gave to the world the game of Modern Polo and nine editions of the International Men’s polo tournament have been successfully organised during the Sangai Festival over the years with participation from countries like USA, UK, Pollang, South Africa, Thailand, Mongolia, Germnay, Australia and so on. Now, the time has come when we promote our women’s polo teams, Manipur will work with the United States polo Association to take the leadership role in the development of women’s polo in the entire country”.
While claiming that event as the first stepping stone towards promoting women’s polo, he expressed his joy that Manipur’s women polo players are also going to participate along with team USPA women in the India-USA exhibition women’s polo game in Jaipur during the finals of Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh Polo cup on January 24.
The Chief Minister further thanked the Ministry of Tourism for generously extending financial assistance to organise the tournament and congratulated state tourism department for taking up the project and organising the event.
“We are proud of the hardworking team of All Manipur Polo Association who have worked day and night since last one year to make this happen”, he said.
Ibobi also lauded the efforts of Somi Roy and Edward Armstrong claiming that they have been instrumental in bringing polo teams from the United States Polo Association, including team USPA women, to Manipur.
Underscoring the immense Tourism potentials, he maintained that the tournament is one such effort towards promoting niche in Tourism department.
“At present, the Manipur Tourism department is giving all efforts to make the tourism. At present, the Manipur Tourism Industry is thriving and continuously exploring new avenues. The Tourism department is also concentrating on ‘capacity building’ projects, through which the youth of the state could be taught and equipped with the management and visionary skills, required for making Tourism of Manipur successful”, added the Chief Ministers.
Tourism may be the only option left to tackle the problem of unemployment and raise the living standards of the people, It could also bring about peace and growth, held the Chief Minister adding that to do so we must have responsible tourism. And responsible tourism begins at home.
“We must know our culture. We must know what to preserve in our culture. Only then can we show the best of Manipur, what is unique about Manipur, to our guests. So let us join hands in promoting tourism of Manipur”, said Ibobi.
An opening match between team USPA and team Shirui was played wherein USPA defeated Shirui, 5-1. In the second round match, Sangai defeated Kangla 6-3.