Bike polo match in Budapest
|Highest governing body||International Bicycle Polo Federation, North American Bike Polo Association, European Hardcourt Bike Polo Association|
|First played||October 1891 - County Wicklow, Ireland. (Rathclaren Rovers V Ohne Hast Cycling Club)|
|Team members||Five or Three|
|Equipment||Bicycle, Mallet, Ball|
|Olympic||London, 1908. (Demonstration Game – Ireland 3-v-1 Germany)|
Cycle polo is a team sport, similar to traditional polo, except that bicycles are used instead of horses. There are 2 versions of the sport: grass and Hardcourt Bike Polo. The hardcourt game has seen a sharp spike in interest as of 2007 and new teams are sprouting up across the world - in the USA, Ireland, Switzerland, France, India, Germany, Pakistan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Hungary, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, England, Scotland, Argentina, Italy, Spain, Canada, Poland, Croatia, Slovenia, Nepal, Brazil and Cuba.
- The Traditional game 1
- The Hardcourt game 2
- History 3
- International Bicycle Polo Championships 4
- European Championships 5
- See also 6
- References 7
- External links 8
The Traditional game
Traditional cycle polo is played in a rectangular grass field, 150 meters by 100 meters officially, unofficially whatever field is big enough. Moreover, official dimensions can vary between 120 and 150 meters in length on 80 to 100 meters in width. The ball used approximately 2.5 inches in diameter and the mallet is of length 1 meter.
There are 6 members (7 in France) on a team of which 4 (5 in France) are on field at a time. The other two are used as substitutes. International matches are played for a duration of 30 minutes divided into periods of 7.5 minutes each called as a chukkar. Extra time can be used to determine the winner in case the scores are tied at normal time.
If a deliberate foul is committed at the vicinity of the goal, the team that is fouled is automatically given a goal. Less severe fouls are awarded 15 metre and 25 metre free hits. In the event of deliberate fouls or dangerous fouls, the umpire can issue the Yellow card (warning) and in case of repeated or severe fouls the Red card (ejection). The ejected player can be replaced by a substitute after the end of the current chukkar if the umpire allows it.
The Hardcourt game
In recent years, an alternate form of the game known as "Hardcourt Bike Polo" has grown in popularity. In this variation, teams composed of three players compete on tennis courts, street hockey rinks, or whatever other surfaces are available. The rules vary slightly by city.
Generally this is a faster game with 3 members on a team, no substitutions, and all members are on the court at all times. A street hockey ball is used and matches are played until one team scores 5 points or time has expired, without playing chukkars. During tournament play a time limit, such as 10 minutes, may be used to maximize the number of tournament rounds possible during the day.
There are three core rules of play:
In the case of a 'foot down' or 'dab' (touching the ground with one's foot) the player must "tap out" by riding to mid-court and hitting a designated area with their mallet. There is usually a tap-out located on either side of the court.
In order to score, the offensive player must hit the ball across the goal line using the narrow end of the mallet - this is called a "shot" or "hit" - hitting the ball across the goal line with the wide end of the mallet is called a "shuffle".
When your team scores a goal, you wait back in your end for the other team (player or ball, whichever comes first) to cross half before engaging in play again.
The North American Hardcourt Bike Polo Association has created an official ruleset, which has helped standardize rules across the globe.
The game was invented in County Wicklow, Ireland, in 1891 by retired champion cyclist Richard J. Mecredy, editor of The Irish Cyclist magazine. In October of that year the first cycle polo match was played at the Scalp (County Wicklow) between Rathclaren Rovers and the Ohne Hast Cycling Club. Towards the end of the 19th century the game reached Great Britain, France, and the United States where the American Star Bicycle was a popular mount. The first international match was played between Ireland and England in 1901. Cycle polo was a demonstration sport at the 1908 London Olympics with Ireland winning the gold, beating Germany.
The sport reached its peak of popularity in Great Britain during the 1930s with the introduction of the regional leagues. Cycle polo also flourished in France during this period with the establishment of the French league. Internationals between France and Great Britain were held regularly. However the Second World War marked the beginning of the demise of cycle polo in Britain. The sport managed to hang on in France though, with league championships held regularly till today.
The 1980s saw the rise of two new powers in cycle polo, Union Cycliste Internationale in 2001.
International Bicycle Polo Championships
The UK based Pukka Chukkas won the 2012 Acumen Energy Bicycle Polo Cup held at Tiger Tops Karnali on the fringes of the Bardia National Park in Nepal, beating EFG Switzerland in a thrilling final in front of a crowd of over 5,000. The bicycles used in the tournament were donated to local schools and social clubs, and money was raised for the prevention and cure of elephant tuberculosis.
The European Championships is an annual Bicycle Polo competition for European club teams. It is held over three legs each year in France, Ireland and Britain. The competition began in 2007 following the compromise between French and British/Irish traditional rules. V.C. Frileuse-Sanvic of France were crowned champions of the inaugural competition.
- 2007 Won by V.C. Frileuse-Sanvic, France
- 2008 Won by St-Pierre de Varengeville, France
- "Polo's young punk cousin". BBC. 31 July 2009. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
- Official North American ruleset
- Could a lost Olympic sport find its way back to London? BBC 23 July 2010 article - retrieved 27 July 2013
- polovelo. "Cycle polo story". Polo-velo.net. Retrieved 2010-10-01.
- Herlihy, David V. (2004). Bicycle, The History. Yale University Press. p. 372.
- "Welcome to rediff.com : Sports - Athens 2004 History". Rediff.com. Retrieved 2010-10-01.
- "BBC SPORT | Olympics 2004 | History | London 1908". BBC News. 2004-07-09. Retrieved 2010-10-01.
- International Bicycle Polo Federation
- Timeline of Bike Polo History
- Hardcourt polo in the 1930s in Galway, Ireland (interview)