New Delhi, Sep 28 : With an aim to make Cycle polo a mass sport, the Cycle Polo Federation of India (CPFI) on Saturday launched the inaugural Cycle Polo League, which will be played between November 25-29 at the Rajasthan Polo Club in Jaipur.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) will assist in organising the tournament along with CPFIs member state associations.
Speaking at the launch event, here at the IAF station at national capital, Thakur Raghuvendra Singh Dundlod, President, CPFI said, 'We have been one of the top teams in the world for the longest period of time and it is but natural that we had to be the one to take the initiative to lead the way for the game of Cycle Polo. This is the first edition and as we progress further we hope to organise this league at an even larger scale.'
The first ever Cycle polo League will have five teams and a total of 40 Indian players to feature who were chosen after a rigorous selection process on the basis of their performance at the National and Federation Cup Championships. Meanwhile, ten foreign players from countries like France, England, Malaysia and Ireland will also be a part of the league and each team in the league will have 6 Indians and 2 foreign players.
Amongst the Indian players, there will be a plethora of India internationals which includes the likes of Assarudeen Sha, Sagar Deshmukh and Vishnu S from the Indian Air Force; Anshad A, Shanoj AR, Anfar J and Harshal Badge from the Territorial Army and Piyansh Sinha and Santosh Rao from the Army.
India has been a gold medallist in the five Cycle Polo World Championships that they have participated in and a bronze medallist on two other occasions. There will be a total of 13 games in the league and will be played in the same format as all national and international competitions. There will be 4 Chukkers of 7:30 minutes each. Each side will be comprised of four players. After every goal the side will be changed.
Though, unlike Horse Polo, in Cycle Polo a player can take a maximum of 3 continuous taps, once three taps are completed either the player has to leave the ball or a fellow teammate has to continue to play.
In addition, the feet of the players cannot touch the ground, they have to keep on cycling throughout. Naked cycles have to be used for the game i.e. no extra attachments such as mud guards, bells, stand, carrier or gears are allowed.
The winners of the league can take home a prize money of Rs 2, 00,000 and runner’s up will be awarded a prize money of Rs 1, 00,000. Similarly, top player of the League, Golden Mallet and Golden Cycle of the League, will get an award of Rs 25, 000 each.
The occasion was graced by Air Marshal PP Bapat VSM, Air Officer-in-Charge Administration and Group Captain Deepak Ahluwalia, Secretary, Air Force Sports Control Board and Vice President, Development of Cycle Polo Federation of India.
The game of Cycle Polo started in 1891 in Ireland and the first International Cycle Polo Match was played between Ireland and England. In 1908, Cycle Polo was included as a demonstration sport in the first Olympic Games held in London (UK).
Cycle Polo in India came as an offshoot of the horse polo as during summer months Royal families of Jaipur, Jodhpur, Baria, Kapurthala,Cooch Behar, Patiala as well as Defence Polo players practiced cycle polo to keep themselves fit and agile.(UNI)