Biddaddaba polo player Alessia Russo competed with the Australian Ladies Polo Team at the Women’s Statehood Day tournament in Manipur, India in January.
Ms Russo said she went to Manipur, which is in the region of Bangladesh on January 15 with four other Australian women polo players from New South Wales and South Australia.
“Other teams taking part in the tournament were from Kenya and the USA s well as teams representing Manipur and the Indian Polo Association,” she said.
“Manipur is seen as the birthplace of modern polo but they are trying to preserve the traditions of the game so they play on Manipuri ponies, which are much smaller than the polo ponies we are used to.
“We had a bit of a laugh at ourselves during the practice run but soon got used to the different height and mallet size.”
Ms Russo said the Australian team won the first game against a local Manipuri team 6-2.
“Then we played against the USA team and we went down by one goal in the final chukker,” she said.
“Unfortunately that knocked us out of the finals.”
All the teams were treated to a visit to the picturesque LokTak lake on the second last day of the tournament before watching an exciting final between USA and Kenya, with Kenya winning the game 5-4.
Ms Russo said she had been playing polo for 10 years, five of them in serious competition.
“The experience in Manipur was fantastic for all of us on the Australian team,” she said.
“It was incredible to learn not just about the history of Manipur but also about the history of polo.”
She said travel and accommodation was funded by Incredible India, the Manipur Tourism Association and Huntre Equine.