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Historians have traced the origins of polo back over 2,500 years ago. The sport of Polo holds its roots in the remote times, is believed to have developed in the far east, specifically Persia. It is the first team sport to have ever occurred.
Polo is played all over the world with efforts being made by the International Polo Federation (FIP) to return it to the Olympics. It was played in the Olympics in 1900, 1908, 1920, 1924 and 1936. It is still a recognised sport under the International Olympic Committee.
It is most popular in Argentina, England and the United States which currently comprise over half of the world’s players.
A game of polo lasts about 2-hours and is divided into 7-minute periods called ‘chukkas’. There are four to eight chukkas in a game, depending on the standard. At the end of each
A polo team consists of four mounted players and their mounts. There are no rules about the gender or age of polo players, there is also no segregation based on gender or age. Each player is given a rating (a handicap), which determines who he or she can play with. Polo must be played right-handed.
The four players on each team are assigned positions, designated by the numbers from 1 to 4 and worn on their team jerseys.
The Number 1 – is a forward, and attacking offensive player. The Number 1 is responsible for scoring goals; they are also expected to “ride-off” the opposing defensive player allowing a trailing teammate the opportunity to score. The
Number 1 should be an accurate hitter and concentrate on scoring opportunities.
The Number 2 – has an important role in offence, either running through and scoring, or passing to the Number 1 and getting in behind them. Defensively they will cover the opposing team’s Number 3. It is not uncommon for the best player on the team to play Number 2.
The Number 3 – is a tactical player and must be a long powerful hitter to feed balls to Number 2 and Number 1 as well as maintaining a solid defense. The best player on the team is usually the Number 3 player, usually wielding the highest handicap.
The Number 4 – is the primary defense player. They can move anywhere on the field, but they usually try to prevent scoring. The emphasis on defense by the Number 4 allows the Number 3 to attempt more offensive plays since they know they will be covered if they lose the ball.