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the-south-asian.com 7 August 2000
Page 2 Elephant Polo in Nepal By Laurie F Jones
Elephant Polo in Nepal
By Laurie F Jones
L to R: Winners Nepal National Parks; Runners-up Chivas Regal
The final match was a fiercely contested battle between Chivas Regal and the Nepal National Parks team - a battle fought primarily between Chivas's ringer from India, Angad Kalaan, and the Parks' star player, Chandra Tamang.
Tension was high as side-bets were placed on both teams and the spectators were treated to a spectacular game of elephant polo. The Parks team was not to be stopped this year, and Chivas had to be contented with a second place showing in the tournament.
The National Parks team is one of the strongest teams in WEPA history. The team has won the championship 6 times in the past 18 years. The team consistently delivers impressive performances. The players are all career elephant trainers working for the Nepal National Parks.
Prior to the Semifinal between the Parks and the International Tigresses, Captain Ram Prit, whose gregarious nature spreads across the tournament grounds, both on and off the pitch, was rumored to have been pleading with individual members of the Tigresses team to "go easy" on his team. The Tigresses upset the Parks on the first day of the 1998 tournament and Ram Prit was begging the Tigresses to "let us win this year." Although the Tigresses empathized with Ram Prit, it must be admitted that they fought the good fight and the Parks simply outperformed the ladies this year. The poor Tigress goalie apparently had nightmares about Chandra Tamang coming at her in the "D" for days afterwards.
The team went on to dominate Chivas Regal in the WEPA final, during which, in spite of Angad Kalaan's best effort in head to head battles with Chandra Tamang, and in spite of several remarkable goal saves by Raj Kalaan, Chandra and his teammates proved to be unstoppable.
As Angad shook hands with Chandra on the emptying pitch after the WEPA cup final, a laugh rang out that could be heard all the way from the summit of Everest to the mouth of the Ganges. The laughter, belonging to Ram Prit Yadev, Captain of the National Parks team , continued throughout the night and well into the next day as his team, already winners of the WEPA cup, went on to win the All-Nepal Challenge.
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