NAIROBI, Kenya- The national women polo team is aiming for a better performance at the high-profile 2018 Manipur Statehood Day Women’s Polo Tournament in India.
The side is set to depart for India on Thursday to feature in the January 17 to 21 event in Imphal, Manipur.
The team for the third edition of Manipur Statehood Day Women’s Polo Tournament is captained by experienced hard-hitter Tiva Gross and includes Rowena Stichbury, Nikki Barlow, Imogen Voorspuy and Kaila Millar.
Stichbury, who captained Royal Salute in Davis Cup at the Nairobi Polo Club over the weekend, is the only player who retained her position in the squad that featured during Kenya’s debut in 2016.
The team will engage in friendly matches with local clubs and international sides ahead of the 2018 contest that has attracted six countries including; hosts India, United States of America and Australia among others.
“We are heading there early to acclimatise and gel. Australia and United States are better sides, so we need good planning and preparations to beat them,” Stichbury said.
“We faced Mainland India, Australia, USA and England in 2016 and I’m glad we didn’t disgrace ourselves despite not making it to the finals.
“Going by our seeding then, I think we performed quite well since Kenya was the country with lowest handicap of three goals,” she added.
The skipper is looking forward to a better outing this term.
“Other sides had handicaps as high as 15. Also, Kimoi Moi’s injury on the second day of the tournament was a blow for Kenya and we are praying hard not to get any injuries ahead of the tournament this year,” Stichbury stressed.
Moi, Lorenzo Soriano, Geoff Moley and Eugene Yumbya were the other players who represented Kenya at the event in 2016.
“We used Davis Cup that concluded at the Nairobi Polo Club over the weekend to step up our training,” Stichbury assured.
The Manipur tournament aims at promoting women’s polo across the globe especially in India that has few women players besides creating awareness about the region’s ponies that are endangered species.
“We play polo on small horses called the Manipur ponies since the idea is to boost the campaign to keep them alive,” the Kenya captain underlined.
Incredible India! of the Ministry of Tourism, New Delhi has sponsored the team by paying for airfare and accommodation.
Team Kenya for India/handicap
1.Tiva Gross (2 goal) -Captain
2.Nikki Barlow (0.5 goal)
3.Rowena Stichbury (0 goal)
4.Imogen Voorspuy (0 goal)
5.Kaila Millar (0 goal).