By Apem Kamodang
Jorhat (Assam), Feb.28 : The popular 130-year-old equestrian event, known as the Jorhat Races, has been revived here after a gap of three years.
Jorhat Rugby races or, the heritage horse races are described as one of the oldest sporting events of Assam. The races were held to coincide with the Assam Tea Tourism Festival.
Originally started in 1876 at the Gymkhana club by the Britishers, the organisation of the Jorhat Races recently cheered everyone here with local people participating in it with big enthusiasm.
According to the President of the Jorhat Races, this race was originally started by the British planters, who used horses for transport.
"With the advent of modern mean of transport, they (the Britishers) replaced their race horses with native breeds from Meising village, near Jorhat. And the races have continued and the tradition was kept alive," said Prabhat Baruah, President of the organizing committee.
uring this year's Jorhart Races, a polo match was organized for the first time after 46 years.
One of the unique features of the Jorhat Race was the participation of the Missing tribes from Majuli Island as horse jockeys.
The organizers also invited professional riders from Manipur. They wanted to teach various aspects of the equestrian event to young enthusiasts.
J.N.Barooah, steward and club member, said: "In between, due to the violence in Assam, we had stopped organizing the events. Also because of the lack of funds, but now with support from locals and authorities, we have revived the event."
This year 102 horses participated in 22 races.
The popular derby, which was featured in Kalpana Lajmi's film Ek Pal starring Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi, has been held in February every year at the Gymkhana Club's sprawling grounds.