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the-south-asian.com                         7  August   2000

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Page   5  of  6

Elephant Polo in Nepal
(continued from previous page)

By Laurie F Jones



L to R: British Gurkha Gladiators; Tiger Top Tuskers


This year's battle for 7th/8th place was fought between two very unlikely teams - the 1st and 2nd place teams from 1998, The British Gurkha Gladiators and theTiger Tops Tuskers . The Tuskers were not able to overcome their handicap (doubled because of their placement in the Amateur playoffs) and the Gurkhas won the game, placing the reigning champions in the spot so long coveted by the Screwy Tuskers - the cellar. The British Gurkha Gladiators are a mainstay of the WEPA tournament. 

The Gurkhas, in keeping with their reputation for courage and pride, chose not to have a Nepali player join the team this year. Although the Gurkhas played hard and well, they were not able to overcome the strong competition in their league. One player was overheard to say wistfully, "If only we could use our khukris." On the night before the finals, the generous Gurkhas threw a huge party on the lawn complete with a bonfire and free drinks, which most likely contributed to their securing 7th place in the tournament the next day by defeating the fuzzy-headed reigning champs, the Tiger Tops Tuskers.

The Tiger Tops Tuskers returned to WEPA this year with high hopes and plans to take the Championship again. Impediments to the Tuskers' plans were found around every corner, however. NIkhilendra Singh, the Tuskers' star player from 1997 and 1998 was only able to play on the first day. Elaborate plans were in the works to kidnap Nikhil, tie him to a tree in the jungle with secure jungle vines, and have the Tigresses and Screwy Tuskers keep him occupied until he missed his plane back to Delhi. Unfortunately for the Tuskers, the Tigresses' competitive spirit overcame their prurient interest in Nikhil and the plan fell apart.

The Tuskers were furthered hampered by a 5-goal handicap, a decision that was firmly and whiningly protested by Captain Kristjan Edwards, to no avail. Still, with Captain Kristjan and his veteran Budhes, assisted by Dhan Bahadur, Jules Ryan and Chad Sullivan, the team played well in the early games and nearly made it to the semifinals. 

In a brutal game with the International Tigresses, complete with Kristjan falling off his elephant and Margie McDougal getting whacked in the head by polo stick, the Tuskers went down to defeat and were placed in the amateur competition. Because the Tuskers are certainly no amateur team, they were strapped with a double handicap during the amateur competition and were unable to overcome the 10 goal deficits. The mighty Tuskers ended up in the cellar.

And more importantly, the Tuskers were able to keep the bar hopping into the wee hours of the morning during the last days of the tournament, with the pressure of the championships having been lifted from their broad shoulders.




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