$100,000 up for grabs as 20th edition of Emirates Polo C’ship starts today
The first major of the season and one of the most-anticipated events on Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club’s calendar, the Emirates International Polo Championship, will kick off on Dec.8 with the grand final scheduled for a week later on Dec.15.
Passion, tradition, legacy and sporting elegance will take centre stage as the Emirates International Polo Championship, which will be held under the generous patronage of Sheikh Falah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club, turns 20.
The draw ceremony for the prestigious competition was held at Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club on Sunday in the presence of Zayed Khalifa Zayed Al Aboudi Al Zaabi, Executive Director of the club; Nasser Al Shamsi, captain Ghantoot, and representatives of other teams.
Three teams — Ghantoot Polo, Bin Drai and Abu Dhabi Polo — will lock horns during the championship, which has attracted the best players over the years and is known to deliver the highest quality of polo.
The tournament carries a handicap of 10-12 goals and will see the participation of many young faces and, of course, the creme de la creme of UAE players. All the participating three teams boast a mix of the best Emirati and international players. A total cash prize of $100,000 is up for grabs at the Emirates
International Polo Championship, widely regarded as one of the region’s most important polo tournaments. Bin Drai, led by Mohammed Bin Drai, will face the Ghantoot team in the opener on Tuesday. The match will kick off at 4pm.
Ghantoot will be in action on Dec.10 when they square off against the Abu Dhabi Polo team. Later, Bin Drai take on Abu Dhabi Polo on Dec.12. “We are proud to have reached another milestone as we celebrate two decades of medium-goal polo in the UAE with the Emirates International Polo Championship,” said Zaabi.
Hailing the vision of Sheikh Falah and his support, Zaabi added, “It is a historical occasion for Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club to celebrate the 20th anniversary of one of the top events of our calendar. Good luck to all the teams participating.
“We look forward to seeing some thrilling matches being played on the Sheikh Zayed Polo Field at the Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club.”
“This achievement would not have been possible without the support of sponsors and team patrons,” Zaabi emphasized.
The tournament will take place behind closed doors in line with UAE’s Covid-19 precautionary and preventive measures, and the club management has decided to follow the highest standards of health and safety norms to ensure the safety of everyone involved.
The Emirates International Polo Championship takes place in association with Abu Dhabi Sports Council and is supported by Capex.com and Paris Reverie.
“There are not many teams in the competition, but those taking part are strong enough to make the tournament interesting. Looking at the capabilities of participating sides it is difficult to predict who will win the title as all of them are even,” said Ghantoot skipper Shamsi.
“Emirates International Polo Championship will be the first major event at Ghantoot and in Dubai which will be played according to the Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA) rules. These rules and umpire supervision make it a polo spectacle,” added the talented high-goal Emirati player based in Abu Dhabi.
Polo enthusiasts can catch the action live as the matches will be transmitted through Abu Dhabi sports channels, in addition to the transmission of all matches via Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club’s social media platforms along with the website.
AT A GLANCE
What: Emirates International Polo Championship
When: December 8-15
Where: Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club, Abu Dhabi
Teams: Three teams
Ghantoot Polo: Nasser Al Shamsi, Yousef Bin Desmal, Cesar Crespo and Manuel Toccalino
Bin Drai: Mohammed Bin Drai, Bautista Alberdi, Rashed Bin Drai and Gergorio Gelosi
Abu Dhabi Polo: Faris Al Yabhouni, Bautista Garcia and Hugo Barabucci