Thrilling triumph for Shaikh Maitha’s UAE Team in the 18th Emirates Open Polo Final

January 6, 2019




 Gallant Ghantoot narrowly beaten by Tommy Panelo’s golden-goal in extra chukker. 

Argentine teen sensation Tommy Panelo delivered the performance of a lifetime to help Shaikha Maitha Bint Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s UAE Polo Team  overcome a gritty Ghantoot in a cliffhanger final of the 18th Emirates Open Polo Championship International on Friday evening.

Panelo, 18, scored an incredible eight goals, including the ‘golden goal’ match-winner in the sixth and extra chukker at the Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club, to gift the UAE Team victory by 10 goals to nine.

With the scores tied at 9-9 at the end of the fifth and final chukker, it was down to the sudden-death tie-breaker, where the UAE players, led by the tireless Shaikha Maitha, held their nerve to prize out a remarkable victory.

“This is an amazing feeling,” said an emotional Panelo. “To win such a prestigious tournament is unbelievable.

“Shaikha Maitha is a great team leader and continually inspired us to raise our game, from the start of the tournament. I felt great today, full of confidence, and I think that helped me deliver such a strong effort.

“”I could not have done this without the support from such talented players like Fede Pobosky and Nacho Acuna. Polo is not an individual sport; it’s all about team work, and I think that’s where we excelled,” he added.

“But full credit to the Ghantoot Polo Team. They played a fantastic game today and I believe that we were just as good as each other on the day. In the end we got a little bit lucky. But, yes, it was an honour and privilege to play against guys like Yousef (Bin Dasmal), Bautastia (Beguiere), Cesar (Crespo) and Martin (Donovan).

Panelo picked up the Professional Player of the Final award, while Bin Dasmal was adjudged the Best Emirati Player of the Final.

“Congratulations to Shaikha Maitha and her team,” said Bin Dasmal. “They played a good strategic game. We lost to them earlier but we came here determined to do better. The whole team played a fantastic match, it was touch and go all the way. But in sport there is only one winner and today it was UAE Polo Team.”

The chief guest at the final as Shaikh Sultan Bin Falah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, son of HH Shaikh Falah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Founder and Chairman of the Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club.

Also in attendance was Shaikh Khalid Bin Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy National Security Adviser.

UAE had beaten Ghantoot 8-6 in the opening game of the tournament two weeks ago, but it appeared that the hosts had found the formula to gain revenge when they led their rivals 4-2 midway through the second chukker, 5-4 in the third, and 9-8 in the fifth.

However, every time the UAE stormed back with goals by Panelo, who struck a back-hand beauty in the fifth, and Pobosky.

It was a masterful display by both teams that had the large crowd on the edge of their seats or rushing forward to watch the action close on the sidelines.

Ahmed Al Nuaimi, Managing Director of the Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club, said: “Congratulations to the UAE Team and Her Highness Shaikha Maitha on winning the 18th emirates Open Polo Championship International.

“It was a delight to see the positivity and skills that they brought to Ghantoot today. It was clear for all to see that they were well prepared, fired up and gave one hundred percent.

“Ghantoot is proud to have hosted such a high quality tournament which featured some of the best polo players in the world, and the UAE. We will continue to support the sport of polo and we look forward to the New Year with great enthusiasm,” he added.

“I also would like to thank all our sponsors for their continuous support for without their backing Ghantoot Polo & Racing Club will not be able to host such prestigious and exciting events.

“I take this opportunity to wish all of them, our patrons, players, officials and fans, a very happy 2019!.”

Abu Dhabi Sports Council was the Governing Partner and Premier Motors Masters, the Official Car.



  • UAE Polo Team beat Ghantoot Polo Team 10-9 (Golden Goal)
  • UAE: Tommy Paneol 8, Fede Pobosky 2, Nacho Acuna 1
  • Ghantoot: Bautista Beguerie 3, Cesar Crespo 2, Martin Donovan 2.



  • Governing partner: Abu Dhabi Sports Council
  • Official car: Premier Motors Maserati
  • Official Hotel: Golden Tulip Al Jazira
  • Official partner: Sobha Realty
  • Official partner: Ahmed al maghribi
  • Official sponsor: Noor Al Wasl Clinic
  • Official sponsor: Avisa General Trading
  • Official sponsor: Bin Ham Travels
  • Official sponsor: Premier Events and Management
  • Official sponsor: Monviso Italian Mineral Water



  • UAE Polo Team
  • Abu Dhabi Polo Team
  • Ghantoot Polo Team
  • Al Habtoor Polo Team
  • Desert Palm Polo Team


At A Glance

  • What: Emirates Open Polo Championship International
  • When: December 8 to 21
  • Where: Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club



  • January 25:             Red Crescent Charity Polo Match
  • March 13-25:          HH President of UAE Polo Cup
  • April 6:                    British Polo Day