“Polo, the sport of kings that anyone can play.” Unknown
We spent a somewhat overcast Friday afternoon (by UAE standards anyway) last weekend with friends at one of the qualifying events of this years H.H President of UAE Polo Cup under the patronage of HH Sheikh Falah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chairman of Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club. I cannot claim to know much about polo except it involves a mallet, a ball, beautiful equine specimens and accomplished players, so here are some pictures instead 😉
Fast paced and rough to say the least, a fellow spectator described it as ‘rugby on horseback‘, the British commentator was a godsend at keeping us abreast of what was going on (the other half has also read up a bit so that helped too) so I now have limited knowledge about chukkas, team hierarchy and player abilities according to their numbers (four being the best) but overall I just have considerable admiration for the riders who not only stay on their horses at great speed, but also manage to hit a small white ball and score goals.
We watched three qualifying matches of the two-week long tournament, which is considered one of the most prestigious in the Middle East showcasing the skills of Argentine professionals as well as talented Emirati team players. We witnessed the only lady rider, Shaikha Maitha Bint Mohammad, from the Dubai royal family competing for the UAE team at number 1 against Mahra, Habtoor take on Edrees and the final match saw the highest handicapped player Pablo McDonough ride for Zedan against Bin Drai under the floodlights.
For those of you residing here in the UAE who like watching sporting events, the Grand Final will take place at Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club on Friday 16th January. Those attending will not only get to witness an amazing display of horsemanship but get a rare glimpse behind the scenes at the UAE’s only Royal polo facility located between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
For more details about the event and the Grand Final visit the website here
Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2015. All rights reserved.