Peshawar: A 10-day polo tournament was kicked off on Monday in Chitral to revive economy, promote domestic tourism and provide an opportunity of entertainment to the local people after the recent devastating floods in the district.
The polo tournament, organised by Chitral Polo Association and sponsored by the Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (TCKP), was inaugurated by Deputy Commissioner Chitral Mr. Amin ul Haq at District Council Hall Chitral. Officials from district administration, players and journalists besides a large number of people attended the opening ceremony.
Around 35 teams are participating in the Polo Tournament at Chitral. Everyday four matches will be played among the teams and the closing ceremony will be held on Oct 13.
Every year there is a polo tournament played on Shandur Top between the teams of Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan, but this year the polo festival could not be held due to floods that wreaked havoc in the district recently.
All the 35 teams participating in the tournament are hailing from Chitral. The festival also includes folk music, traditional dances and a camping village. Free-styled mountain polo is arguably polo in its purest form. This version of the game played in Chitral and Gilgit has attained legendary status and is of great interest to international and domestic adventure tourists alike. There are no umpires and there are no holds barred.
Polo is an equestrian sport with its origin embedded in Central Asia dating back to 6th century BC. At first it was a training game for cavalry units for the King’s guards or other elite troops.
Polo was introduced in South Asia, by the Muslim conquerors in the 13th century. English word ‘Polo” is a Balti word meaning, ‘ball’. Now days, there are six players to a side, but this is by no means a rule in local polo games.