Report on CAS Polo Cup-2022
PAF White defeated PAF Blue and bagged the winner’s trophy in an exciting final of the 31st Chief of the Air Staff Challenge Cup Polo Tournament with 5-1/2 to 5 goals.
It was a remarkably blue-sky day at the Islamabad Polo Club, which is the home of contemporary polo in the capital city. On 6 December 2022, players tested their dexterity on the game’s principles and from the lofty positions and at high speeds, whacked the polo ball sending it soaring down the field. Spectators were drawn to the vibrantly green and immaculately groomed field, keen to indulge in the rich traditions shared both on and off the polo ground.
Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmed Baber Sidhu, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force was the chief guest on the occasion. The Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmed Baber Sidhu gave away prizes to the players and awarded CAS Challenge Polo Cup Trophy to the winning team. The Air Chief congratulated the winners and appreciated the club management for the successful conduct of the event. CAS also emphasized upon the significance of sports for the improvement of psychomotor skills and physical health of the youth.
PAF Sports Control Committee in collaboration with Islamabad Polo Club management organized the 31st Chief of the Air Staff Challenge Cup Polo Tournament-2022, which commenced from 28 November, 2022. With all the domestic stars of the game in action in the incomparable setting of Islamabad Polo Club stunning grounds, situated in the heart of the capital, the tournament drew in polo aficionados from all over Pakistan.
Six polo teams namely PAF Blue, PAF White, Asean, ASC Rizvi, ASC Ahmed Khan and ASC Vaulters participated in the mega event. Diplomats, high ranking civil and military officials along with polo enthusiasts witnessed the final match. PAF regularly contributed to nation building efforts by organizing such tournaments. The event was widely appreciated both at domestic and international levels which was a manifestation of the PAF’s commitment to promote sports in the country.
Polo is perhaps the oldest team sport, related to the inspirational relationship between humans and horses. This bond and the unique blending of athletic talents between horse and rider has helped polo to evolve.
Veteran polo player Wg Cdr Fahad Aziz said that although the precise origin of Polo was obscure and undocumented, there was ample evidence of the game’s regal place in the history of Asia. No one knows where or when stick first met the ball but it seemed likely that as the use of light cavalry spread so did the rugged game on the horse back. He explained that as mounted armies swept back and forth across this part of the world, polo was adopted as the most noble of pastimes by the kings and emperors, Shahs and Sultans, Khans and Caliphs of the ancient Persian, Arab, Mongols and Chinese. “It was for this reason it became known across the lands as ‘The Game of Kings’,” the Wg Cdr explained who is also captain of the team PAF White.
Polo continues, as it has done for so long. The feeling of many of its players were epitomized by a famous verse inscribed on a stone at a polo ground in Gilgit,
“LET OTHERS PLAY AT OTHER THINGS, THE KING OF GAMES IS STILL THE GAME OF KINGS”.
In Pakistan, the Pakistan Polo Association (PPA) , formed in 1947, is the governing body, to promote and organize polo locally. The renowned polo tournament in the country took place annually on the Shandur Pass at 11,000 feet elevation, the highest polo ground in the world where a Chitral vs Gilgit tournament was held every June. The rules of the game here dated back 800 years to those created by a descendent of Genghis Khan himself.
In 1982, PAF Polo Club was formed, on the request of Air Marshal Rahim Khan to then Air Chief Marshal Anwar Shamim. Air Marshal Sharbat Ali Changezi became the first president of PAF Polo Club while Flight Lieutenant Khalid Kamal Tampton, the first PAF Polo Club Secretary. In 1986, Pakistan Air Force Polo Team was formally included into PPA and was granted formal membership.
Over the years, due to continuous efforts of Air Marshal Sharbat Ali Changezi Air Chief Marshal Pervaiz Mehdi Qureshi, Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, Air Marshal Amer Masood, and tremendous support of air staff today, PAF Polo Club was well organized and established facility for all PAF personnel.
Subsequently, PAF had produced polo players explicitly. Air Marshal Amer Masood, Air Commodore Haider Ali Shah, Air Commodore Nausher, Air Commodore Kazmi, Wg Cdr Fahd Aziz, Squadron Leader Hamayun, Squadron Leader Haider and Sqn Leader Hamza, were few names known for their horsemanship, professionalism and dedication amongst the Pakistan polo community.