LAGOS (Reuters) – When polo comes to Lagos, the champagne flows and exuberant fashion colors beautify the green fields.
While maximum Nigerians would in no way change their love of football, the economic capital nevertheless hosts the largest polo match in West Africa, with trophies fiercely disputed in opposition to a backdrop of glitz and glamour for the higher magnificence. “Polo has shifted from simply the sports to a fashion announcement,” stated Mudrakat Alabi-Macfoy, wearing an airy white kaftan with a multi-colored floral necklace and head wrap on the Lagos Polo Club. “For me, it’s miles something amusing, something playful, something whimsical, something comfortable … A bit of color, a piece of dad,” stated Alabi-Macfoy, who works as an attorney while now not looking polo. In a nation with the arena’s highest wide variety of human beings in severe poverty, the regularly-dubbed “sport of kings” is prohibitively steeply-priced for most people. First delivered through British colonial servicemen, polo has been performed in Nigeria for over one hundred years and almost all of the groups are owned by way of local multi-millionaires. “It is an highly-priced sport due to the fact, you understand, your horses are like babies,” said Koyinsola Owoeye, who has been gambling polo because 2007, seduced by his father’s love of the game.
A horse can value approximately $forty,000 – then there’s maintenance. “Maintenance isn’t always clean. Today they may be well, day after today they are able to have, you know, malaria, fever, colic, or maybe get injured on the sphere or on their way to the match,” Owoeye said. The 2019 Lagos International Polo Tournament, which wound up on Sunday, fielded 33 teams from Nigeria, Argentina, South Africa, Kenya, and the UK.
Imphal: Polo, often notion of as a sport of the wealthy, has additionally been normally ruled with the aid of guys. However, a quiet revolution is taking region on the very location in which all of it began – the north-east Indian nation of Manipur, that’s taken into consideration the birthplace of modern-day polo. While men were gambling this sport here for hundreds of years, the highlight has now shifted to women of the country who now discipline 5 expert polo groups to compete with the arena’s quality. These Manipuri ladies from humble backgrounds are not simplest shattering stereotypes that polo is a sport for guys, however also that it’s for the privilege of the rich.
L Some Roy, conservationist, and partner at Hunter! Equine, has been one of the foremost crusaders for ladies’ polo in the nation and sees it also as a marketing campaign to keep the iconic Manipuri pony, whose numbers have been declining over time. He says whilst Manipuri women historically did no longer play polo as it becomes an equestrian game coming out of a martial tradition, nowadays, within the Nineteen Eighties, they were given stimulated through their male spouse and children. “The All Manipur Polo Association encouraged them. About forty-45 according to cent of polo players inside the world are ladies. So we are just catching up. It’s pretty gendered loose as recreation, so it puts them on the extent of men once they play together,” Roy tells IANS. While Manipur produces one-0.33 of male players and three-fourths of women players within the united states of america, Roy says a maximum of these gamers from an isolated, economically-underdeveloped kingdom are not individuals of the Indian Polo Association.