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the-south-asian.com                         7  August   2000

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Elephant Polo in Nepal

By Laurie F. Jones


Every winter a group of 50 – 60 fun loving and adventurous individuals from distant corners of the world get together on an airstrip near Kathmandu to participate in the only tournament of its kind – Elephant Polo!

Laurie F. Jones writes an account of the last tournament held in December 1999.

Team Line-up before play

Every year in December  the annual tournament of the World Elephant Polo Association is held at Meghauli airfield [the home of the WEPA tournament] in Nepal, southwest of Kathmandu and just north of the Indian border.

Elephant Polo is similar to horse polo. (The biggest difference is one that you can probably guess!) The governing rules for the Elephant Polo Tournament were established by the World Elephant Polo Association [founded in April 1982], which is headquartered at the Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge in Chitwan, Nepal.

The game is played by four players of each team on a marked pitch 140 x 70 meters, using a standard size polo ball and consists of two 10-minute chukkers of playing time, with an interval of 15 minutes. The whistle blown by the referee stops and starts play. The pitch is marked with a centre line, a circle with a radius of 15 metres in the centre of the field, and a semi-circle with a radius of 30 metres measured from the centre of the goal line at either end of the pitch. Elephants and ends are changed at half time.

"All handicaps are negotiated by the team captains the night before the tournament begins. From what I can tell they are based on a blend of previous team records, quality of players (pro or amateur), sharpness of wit and the amount of Chivas consumed during negotiations. " – ‘Screwy Tuskers’ team member

The eight teams participating in the tournament were:



Tiger Tops Tuskers [Nepal – Handicap 5 ]

Tiger Mountain [India – Handicap 4]

National Parks [ Nepal – Handicap 4]

Chivas Regal [South Africa – Handicap 3]

International Tigresses [Representing ‘The World’ – Handicap 2]

British Gurkha Gladiators [UK – Handicap 0 ]

Titanic Tracks [Chile – Handicap 0]

Screwy Tuskers [USA – Handicap -1]


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