Of Horses And Heroes

Updated: Nov 9 2003, 05:30am hrs
Yet another polo season began in Delhi with the commencement of Hyundai Sonata Maharaja Sir Pratap Singh Cup (16 goals) tournament on Thursday. Held at the Jaipur Polo Ground in the Capital, the tournament featured six teams.

Defending champions Jindal Steel and Power slugged it out with Jaipur Polo.Com and Teacher in Pool B while Royal Kashmir, Aravali Polo and McDowells Signature fought it out in Pool A. The pool winners will meet in the finals today at 3 pm.

Says Naveen Jindal of Jindal Steel and Power, The quality of competition has definitely increased. In the recent past the level of awareness of the game has definitely has gone up, he adds.

Agreeing with him, tournament organising committee member Dr Pawandeep S Kohli, who is also the honorary physician to the President of India, says, This year we have the same number of teams. There are two new faces, though. Nacho Gonzales with +7 handicap playing for Royal Kashmir and David Bernal with +5 handicap of the Aravali team are the new players participating in the tournament.

Commenting on the fewer number of teams, Mr Kohli says, This tournament is a six chukker tournament. For a team to participate in a six chukker tournament, it requires about 30 horses, which is one and a half times the number of horses required in a four chukker tournament. Fewer teams can afford to do that. Despite the fewer number of teams, Mr Kohli says, The quality of the polo in the tournament is as good as that of polo played anywhere in the world.

Agreeing with him, Mr Jindal adds, Polo in India is definitely gaining popularity. We have quality players now and our polo is definitely improving.