An ancient game of kings and khans

PUBLISHED : Monday, 20 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 20 June, 2011, 12:00am


The name polo is said to derive from the Tibetan word pulu, which means ball. The game is believed to date back to the 5th century BC, when it was used as a means of training elite royal troops in the kingdom of Persia.

It was the British who gave it proper rules and regulations.

Variations of polo are depicted in historical paintings and tapestries. It was apparently popular in China during the Tang dynasty.

A version was also played during the Yuan dynasty of the Mongols, who were a race of expert horsemen. Today, there is a Genghis Khan polo club which holds competitions on the Mongolian grasslands.

There are several small polo clubs around Beijing. Shanghai has the classy Nine Dragons Hill Polo Club.

The sport was regularly played by British soldiers in Hong Kong at the Shek Kong army base during the colonial era.