The Iran Project

Polo’s birthplace was Persia, historians say

Many of us know of the sport polo, but very few of us know of its origins and its history, and how it has affected other sports. According to historians Polo originated in Persia.

However many countries in Asia claim to be the origins of this sport, recently Azerbaijan requested to register polo with the United Nations as a purely indigenous sport of its land.

Iran immediately voice opposition to the move and now the head of Iran’s Polo Federation says Azerbaijan has changed its request. “After 2-and-half months of interaction and sending documents to UNESCO we’ve made Azerbaijan take back their word about being the birthplace of polo. They are now only saying polo was played there, Hamzeh Ilkhanizadeh, Director of Iran’s Polo Federation said.

As the Persian Empire stretched far beyond Iran’s current borders, many argue it was played all over Asia however one country can’t lay claim. Linguist and Historian, Azartash Azarnoush said, “Chogan originating from Azerbaijan is a joke, as when Chogan was played the country Azarbaijan did not even exist. Azerbaijan was a small part of Iran.” The First Technical meeting on “Chogan” as Polo is called in Iran tried to bridge the gap between those playing the game and those researching on it to clear ambiguities like its origins.

“We should do something to bridge the game field to research. This event hopes to increase the knowledge about this sport through lectures by Historians, researchers and scholars, Seyed Abdol Majid Mirdamadi, Head of the Research Department at the Iran Studies Foundation said. There are many records showing this sport was from Persia, from the arts and culture of this land. Clearly depicted in miniature drawings that show polo players playing the game in green stretching fields. Polo is considered the world’s oldest competitive sport and is believed to be what led to the creation of team sports and goals.

For many polo players the main square in Iran’s historic city of Isfahan is a place to visit, especially because of its stone goal posts, still the regulation distance apart intact from hundreds of years ago. Professor of History, Mohammad Hossein Riahi, said “One of the visual documents about Choghan in Iran’s history is the Naghshe-Jahan Square which is now called the Imam Square in Isfahan, which was built during the Safavid dynasty. This game reached its climax during the Safavid time but documents from 25-hundred years ago show proves this sport originated here.” Despite being the birthplace of this sport, Iran’s Polo Federation is young and is trying to revive this sport.

By Press TV


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