New Delhi, September 28, 2019: The Cycle Polo Federation of India (CPFI) – the apex body for the sport in the country,launched the first ever Cycle Polo League. The inaugural League, aimed to bring the game of Cycle Polo to the forefront and make it a mass sport, will be played between November 25, 2019 to November 29, 2019, at the Rajasthan Polo Club in Jaipur. The Indian Air Force (IAF) will lead in assisting the same along with CPFI’s member state associations.
The League will see five teams battle it out to be crowned champions. It will feature of total of 40 Indian players chosen after a rigorous selection process on the basis of their performance at the National and Federation Cup Championships. 10 foreign players will also be a part of the league from countries like France, England, Malaysia and Ireland. Each team in the league will be comprised of 6 Indians and 2 foreign players.
Speaking at the launch event held at the IAF station at LokKalyan Marg, Air Marshal PP Bapat VSM, Air Officer-in-Charge Administration said, “It is a very important development for the game of Cycle Polo in India. After participating and winning medals in seven World Cycle Polo Championships it was high time that the game got its due recognition and I believe the Cycle Polo League is the first step in that direction.”
India has been a gold medallist in the five Cycle Polo World Championships that they have participated in and a bronze medallist on the two other occasions. 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 Bagde from the Territorial Army and Piyansh Sinha and Santosh Rao from the Army.
Group Captain Deepak Ahluwalia, Secretary, Air Force Sports Control Board and Vice President, Development of Cycle Polo Federation of India expressed his thoughts saying, “Cycle Polo has been winning India many accolades but has always been a game less known to the masses. We have been trying to work out the proceedings for a full-fledged league system since long and now finally we can give the game something which was the need of the hour. I hope the league not only helps the players but also brings more awareness about the game and its skills amongst the people in the country.”
“We have been one of the top teams in the world for the longest period of time and it is but natural we had to be the one to take the initiative to the 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”, said Thakur Raghuvendra Singh Dundlod, President,CPFI.
There will be a total of 13 games in the league.The games 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 comprise 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 INR 2, 00,000 and runner’s up will be awarded a prize money of INR 1, 00,000. Similarly Top Player of the League, Golden Mallet and Golden Cycle of the League, will get an award of INR 25, 000/- each.