Imphal: Manipur chief minister N. Biren Singh launched the 1st Chief Minister’s Sagol Kangjei Championship 2022 at the Manung Kangjeibung of Kangla moat, the heritage site of the state, here on Friday.
The Championship which is organised by All Manipur Polo Association (AMPA) as a part of Sangai Festival 2022 will continue for 10 days till November 27. The event is being organised under the slogan of Save Manipuri Pony, Save Grazing Field and Revive Sagol Kangjei.
The chief minister also launched the Sagol Tongba Police (Manipur Mounted Police) which will be used to maintain law and order around the Imphal City and will also be a tourist attraction during the Sangai Festival 2022.
The championship would be a memorable event in the history of Manipur, as the Sagol Kangjei game had been brought up after a long period, Biren said.
He appreciated the Polo association for organising such an important championship. Maintaining that Polo was taken from Sagol Kangjei of Manipur is a known fact, he expressed that the people of Manipur don’t possess the habit of bringing up or feeling proud of their own belongings.
“Sagol Kangjei is not just a game, but it also symbolises the role of Manipuri pony and the techniques of warfare possessed by the Manipuri soldiers in defending the sovereignty of Manipur during the olden days. Manipuri ponies had always been a part of the state’s civilization and its culture,” the chief minister said.
He stressed the need to promote Sagol Kangjei, “Through this we could give a message to the world on who we are and the steps of civilization the state had come through since time immemorial”.
The state government has been taking up various efforts to maintain a healthy relationship among different communities adding that some forces of vested interest had always tried to disintegrate the unity among different communities, he added.
Sagol Kangjei Championship is to promote the importance of preserving the game and the endangered breed of Manipuri Pony, he said.
Speaking on the Sagol Tongba Police (Manipur Mounted Police) he informed that every Battalion of Manipur Rifles would be given the task of rearing 10 ponies each.
Biren appealed to the public to live together peacefully as one, leaving aside all communal views and to think and contribute in taking the State towards development.
Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha Maharaja Leishemba Sanajaoba expressed happiness that the Sagol Kangjei Championship had been organised under the supervision of the chief minister, adding that the game seemed to lose its relevance for a long period. He said the organisation of the championship every year would help to preserve the pony and also promote the Sagol Kangjei, showing the world that Manipur is the birthplace of Modern Polo.
Cabinet ministers, MLAs, senior civil and police officials of the government, academicians, members of AMPA and veteran players of Sagol Kangjei attended the programme among others.
The chief minister honoured Veteran Sagol Kangjei Players with citation and cash reward, honouring their contribution in promoting the game.
Cultural programmes were showcased before the opening match between Chingkhei Hunba Polo Club and Imphal East Polo Association.