Tuk-tuk polo, an inspiration for Thailand?

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Tuk tuk poloIf Thailand would ever have been colonised by the Brits, there maybe would be an openness for sports such as cricket and polo like in Sri Lanka. And the Sri Lankans are taking polo to the next level by holding tournaments for tuk-tuk polo. An inspiration for Thailand?

Starting on February 19, the 2016 tuk-tuk polo championships were held over the weekend in the southern Sri Lankan port city of Galle, the third such competition which started in 2013 as a friendly game and was held again in 2015. This year, eight teams – four domestic and four international – of three vehicles each and their drivers and passengers competed in the first real tournament.

The event goes back to Anglo-Australian expat Geoffrey Hobbs who runs a chain of luxury hotels in Sri Lanka. Hobbs started a polo tournament over a decade ago in Galle where players rode elephants instead of horses. In 2007, however, one elephant went rogue and smashed into several spectators’ cars. The competition was suspended for several years, finally reemerging in 2013 played with three-wheel rickshaws, or “tuk-tuks” instead of elephants. The games are now organised by Geoffrey’s niece Rachel Dobbs.

The rules are similar to horse polo. No team may have more that two tuks-tuks in one half at any given time, only one tuk-tuk of each side may enter the goalmouth and no tuk-tuk can stop in front of the goal. Gentlemen may only play with their right hand but ladies may use both.

Each vehicle is manned by a driver, with the player taking up position in the back seat. Tuk-tuk polo makes use of the speed and easy maneuverability of the vehicles and exceptional navigational skills of the driver, and hand-eye coordination from the players, to score by whacking the ball into the opponent’s goal. In spite of its quirky nature, tuk-tuk polo comes with its own set of rules and regulations, just like any other sport. The game is played in two seven-minute rounds with a 15-minute halftime interval. This year, the grand prize was 200,000 rupees ($1,430). won by Team Cantaloupe.

Animal rights expressed their satisfaction that the game now uses tuk-tuks instead of elephants, given the typically harsh treatment they must endure when used in such events.

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If Thailand would ever have been colonised by the Brits, there maybe would be an openness for sports such as cricket and polo like in Sri Lanka. And the Sri Lankans are taking polo to the next level by holding tournaments for tuk-tuk polo. An inspiration for Thailand? Starting on February 19, the 2016 tuk-tuk polo championships were held over the weekend in the southern Sri Lankan port city of Galle, the third such competition which started in 2013 as a friendly game and was held again in 2015. This year, eight teams - four domestic and four international -...

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Tuk tuk poloIf Thailand would ever have been colonised by the Brits, there maybe would be an openness for sports such as cricket and polo like in Sri Lanka. And the Sri Lankans are taking polo to the next level by holding tournaments for tuk-tuk polo. An inspiration for Thailand?

Starting on February 19, the 2016 tuk-tuk polo championships were held over the weekend in the southern Sri Lankan port city of Galle, the third such competition which started in 2013 as a friendly game and was held again in 2015. This year, eight teams – four domestic and four international – of three vehicles each and their drivers and passengers competed in the first real tournament.

The event goes back to Anglo-Australian expat Geoffrey Hobbs who runs a chain of luxury hotels in Sri Lanka. Hobbs started a polo tournament over a decade ago in Galle where players rode elephants instead of horses. In 2007, however, one elephant went rogue and smashed into several spectators’ cars. The competition was suspended for several years, finally reemerging in 2013 played with three-wheel rickshaws, or “tuk-tuks” instead of elephants. The games are now organised by Geoffrey’s niece Rachel Dobbs.

The rules are similar to horse polo. No team may have more that two tuks-tuks in one half at any given time, only one tuk-tuk of each side may enter the goalmouth and no tuk-tuk can stop in front of the goal. Gentlemen may only play with their right hand but ladies may use both.

Each vehicle is manned by a driver, with the player taking up position in the back seat. Tuk-tuk polo makes use of the speed and easy maneuverability of the vehicles and exceptional navigational skills of the driver, and hand-eye coordination from the players, to score by whacking the ball into the opponent’s goal. In spite of its quirky nature, tuk-tuk polo comes with its own set of rules and regulations, just like any other sport. The game is played in two seven-minute rounds with a 15-minute halftime interval. This year, the grand prize was 200,000 rupees ($1,430). won by Team Cantaloupe.

Animal rights expressed their satisfaction that the game now uses tuk-tuks instead of elephants, given the typically harsh treatment they must endure when used in such events.

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