National women’s polo team have been invited to play at the third Manipur Statehood Day International Polo tournament set for between January 17 and 21 in Imphal, Manipur State, India.
Kenya Polo Association has entered top female players including handicap two Tiva Gross of North Kenya Polo Club and four zero goalers Rowena Stichbury (Nairobi Polo Club vice captain) and Manyatta trio of Nicola Barlow, Imogen Voorspuy and Kaila Millar. Gross, one of the world’s top female players will captain the team while Stichbury will be the team leader.
The team leaves the country for Jaipur, Rajasthan State in India today. Here, they will have two friendly matches before heading for Manipur State on January 15.
The squad is comprised of Kenya’s The quintet’s expenses have fully catered for by the hosts’ ministry of tourism — Incredible India!
“We appreciate the opportunity to play at the oldest polo fields. We are even much grateful to Incredible India! for sponsoring our team,” said Stichbury.
Kenya will face Australia, United States and India.
“Last time we had great fun and didn’t disgrace ourselves despite not making it to the finals. We are set to be the lowest handicap team and we won’t have any goal advantage over the other teams. I hear Australia have very good players, same to the United States but I think we have a much better chance of doing well this time round,” she added.
The Manipur ponies are so small that players use 46 to 48 inch sticks while in contemporary polo, players use 52 inch sticks, on average. The tournament is played in a traditional equipment including woven bridals regalia and traditional saddles.
The international polo carnival aims at creating awareness on the Manipur horses, an endangered species, in an effort to conserve them. And to also promote ladies’ polo across the world and especially in India where there are few women players.
This is the second time a Kenyan team has been invited to Manipur. The first featured in the mixed gender event in November, 2016. The 2016 Kenyan team comprised of Kimoi Moi, Lorenzo Soriano, Geoff Moley, Eugene Yumbya and Stichbury.