Polo is possibly the oldest team sport in the world. The exact origins are lost in history, but it was probably first played by nomadic warriors in Asia over two thousand years ago. The first recorded polo tournament took place 500 or 600 BC when the Turkomans beat the Persians in a public match. Polo was at first a training game for cavalry units preparing them for battle, and eventually turned into the national sport of Iran normally played by the nobility.
From Persia, in medieval times, polo soon spread to Byzantine, China and India where it was later discovered by the British army who moved onto formalise and popularise the sport. In 1862 two British officers established the first ever polo club; Calcutta Polo Club which is still in existence today. Polo started spreading in the UK and polo clubs appeared throughout the country leading to the setup of Hurlingham Polo Association, which drew up the first set of official rules. The game also flourished in Argentina and the United States organising their first official polo matches in 1875 and 1876.
Polo grew in popularity and became an Olympic sport from 1900-1939. Today polo is an active sport in 77 countries, most notably in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Iran, India, New Zealand, Mexico, Pakistan, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States where the sport is played on a professional level.
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