To mark Manipur’s historic Statehood Day and promote women’s polo, the All Manipur Polo Association has organised an international women’s polo tournament for the first time in the state in association with the Department of Tourism.The first Manipur Statehood Day Women’s Polo Tournament 2016 was inaugurated on Sunday (January 17) by Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh at Mapal Kangjeibung (Polo ground) in Imphal. The five-day Tournament will conclude on January 21, the day which is observed as Manipur Statehood Day. Manipur was granted statehood on January 21, 1972.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Four women’s teams from Manipur – Chingkheihunba Polo Club, Thoubal Polo Association Women’s team, Eastern Students Club Women’s team and Venture Fifteen Polo Club – and a team from USPA (United States Polo Association) are taking part in the tournament. Team USPA Women is the first international women’s polo team to come to India.Four young lady players Cristina Fernandez, Tiamo Hudspeth, Carly Persano, and Julia Smith are representing Team USPA. They are led by Steven Armour, Governor-at-Large of the National Board of Governors of the USPA. Team USPA is on a two week long trip to India.The polo tournament is also organised to commemorate the 60th (Diamond) Anniversary of the All Manipur Polo Association which was established under the patronage of Maharaja Bodhachandra of Manipur in 1955.Chief Secretary of Manipur, Oinam Nabakishore said that such tournament is not only a good opportunity to showcase Manipur’s women polo players, but it will also help create awareness to save the endangered Manipuri ponies and promote tourism in the state.On January 24, the Women’s Team USPA will play in a mixed India/US exhibition game hosted by the Rajasthan Polo Club and Rajasthan Tourism on the final day of the Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh Cup. Team India will feature two Manipuri women polo players.