The nomads of Central Asia practiced a form of polo that was both sport and combat training, with up to 100 men on each side. In Persia, polo, practiced by the nobility and the military, became a national sport. The game was formalized and spread from the west to Constantinople, from the east to Tibet, China and Japan, and also from the south to India.

Polo is perhaps the oldest team sport, although its exact origin is an enigma. Nomad warriors probably first played this sport more than two thousand years ago, but the earliest known tournament dates back to 600 BC. The name is supposed to come from the Tibetan “pholo”, which means “ball” or · ball game “. Starting from its origins in Persia, the game has often been associated with the rich and noble of society; kings, princes and queens of Persia played this game. Polo has also been linked to the middle and upper classes in the past, mainly because of its origins in Great Britain. The fact that it was played by wealthy people is perhaps due to the fact that, being a game played on horseback, it requires at least two horses per game, an expensive hobby.

In the Middle Ages, polo was used for cavalry training throughout the East (from Tokyo to Constantinople), and was played almost like a miniature battle. It first reached Westerners via British Manipur tea planters and spread to Malta with soldiers and naval officers. In 1869, the first game in Great Britain (of “hockey on horseback”, as it was called), was organized in Hounslow Heath, in charge of Aldershot.

However, the size of the polo field (nearly 10 acres in area, nine times the size of soccer fields) has not changed since one of the first fields was built in front of Ali Qapu’s palace in the ancient city of Isfahan. In the sixteenth century. Today, it is used as the green lawn of Naqsh-e Jahan Square, where the original stone posts are still preserved.

Polo is played actively in 77 countries, but professionally in only a few, such as Germany, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Spain, the United States, France, India, Iran, Jamaica, Mexico, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Dominican Republic.


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