You've heard of polo played on
horses and in water. You've
also probably seen pictures
of people atop elephants
bending low with polo mallets
in their hands. Now, how about a
game of polo on your bicycle?
If this is the first time you've heard
about this sport, you're not alone. Anil
Uchil (40) and Firoza Suresh (39), members
of a popular networking website
for cyclists called www.cyclists.in with
more than 3,600 members, haven't
heard about the game either. "If someone
was doing this in our online cycling
community, we'd have known," said
Army officers and Maharajas during
the British era played the game as
a way of staying fit during the off-season
of horse Polo, informs Raghuvendra
Singh Dundlod, 58, president of the
Cycle Polo Federation of India. "Our
association was registered in 1966 and
we began holding state and nationallevel
cycle polo championships," said
Dundlod, who was part of the Indian
team that won a gold in the first World
Cycle Polo Championship held in 1996
in Richmond, USA.
However, he added, a lack of funding
and proper infrastructure has prevented
the team from playing in any
World Championship since 2007.
Polo on wheels
The game, Suresh and Uchil agree,
sounds rather interesting. Cycle polo
follows the same rules as horse polo:
there are four players in each team and
the aim is to get the ball through the
opposing team's goal post. However,
unlike the 54" or 52"-long mallets, the
ones used in cycle polo are shorter.
Anything between 32" to 36" goes. The
ball too is not the same.
"Initially cycle polo players used a
horse polo ball, but that was dangerous.
Now, we use a special ball manufactured
by Cosco, which is slightly bigger
than a tennis ball and is orange in
colour," said Dundlod.
It's not easy, given that the player has
to balance both the cycle and the mallet,
and avoid crashing into the other
cyclists around him. But that's what
excites Uchil about this game. "It sounds
Nagpur-resident Milind Patle, 35,
who was part of the winning team in
the 2001 World Championship, said,
"The most difficult
thing about this
game is making
back shots and
ones to the right,
while riding the
cycle." "But we play
so fast that the ball is
less on the ground,
and more in the air,"
added Patle, who was
part of the national
team for three consecutive
Before becoming an
umpire for national
cycle polo games, 19-
Begum, was par
of the Chhattisgarh senior women's
team. The Hyderabad-resident began
learning the sport in school under the
PV Krishna, also a member of the
Federation. "The most important thing
about this game is getting your balance
right. There should be a good understanding
between members of the
team," she said.
Juhu-resident Suresh, herself an athlete,
is curious about where to play the
sport. "Very few parks in the city allow
cycles," she said. Uchil agrees. "The
game needs good infrastructure. It's
dangerous to play something like this
on the street."
Want to paly the game?
The Cycle Polo Federation of India
(www.cyclepolo.com) has a list of rules.
In Mumbai, the Mumbai Upanagar
Cycle Polo Association holds classes
for students of Chembur High School.
Sharad Vavre, who is the secretary of
the association coaches them. Call him
at 9820112724. The Thane Zilla Cycle
Polo Association secretary is Vilas
Wagh. Reach him on 9869584099.
In Delhi, head to the Army Polo and
Riding Club in Manekshaw Marg, Delhi
Cantt. (011- 25699444; armypoloclub@
You want to pick up the game
yourself? Call Jaipur-resident
Ashok Sharma, who
makes mallets on
9351451756. A stick
costs Rs 300 to
350 and shipping
charges are extra.
If you can't find the
special Cosco polo
ball use a tennis ball.