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01 December 2015
Sheikha Maitha bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum will lead the UAE Polo Team at the Emirates Open Polo Championship International which starts at Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club on December 6.
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Falah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club, the tournament which carries 1 million Dhs in prizes and a trophy, consisting of top polo teams from UAE and Saudi Arabia.
The six teams participating in the 14 handicap championship consist of the Ghantoot Polo team, UAE Polo team, Abu Dhabi Polo team and the Bin Drai polo team - all from the UAE - while Dr A Polo Team and Edrees Polo Team form the Saudi participation.
This was announced at a press conference which was held at the club on Monday in the presence of H.E. Saeed Bin Houfan Al Mansouri, Vice-Chairman and Ahmed Al Nuaimi the Managing Director of Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club, alongside Abdul Raheem Al Hashimi, Head of Marketing of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Ateeq Al Mazrouei, Planning Director of Department of Transport – Abu Dhabi, Rashid Al Rumaithi, Abu Dhabi Brand Manager of Forever Rose, Ramiro Zavaleta and representatives of the participating teams.
All six teams participating in the championships are divided into two zones with Dr A, Edrees and Bin Drai in Zone A while Abu Dhabi, Ghantoot and UAE team are in Zone B.
Each team will play three qualifying games with the best 4 teams in the overall ranking moving into the semi-finals. The team ranked first will play against the fourth placed team while the second will play the third ranked to make it to the final. On the final day, December 18, the early match will be between the fifth and the sixth placed teams, while the finals will take place at 5pm. Each game consists of five chukkas.
“This is the first big tournament of the season and the teams are getting ready. I think it is also a good preparation for the President’s Cup we are having in January,” said Al Nuaimi elaborating on the tournament.
“The Ghantoot team has some of the best horses, but all the teams are getting better every year,” said Al Nuaimi while adding that his team too is set for the challenge. “The Abu Dhabi team is in partnership with Ghantoot and we do the practices together, so we have good chances also. We have a nice team.”
“The tournament too is getting better. I remember we played games of four chukkas earlier now we have five. The idea is keep on growing in terms of horses, chukkas and the level (of the championship),” added the professional.
In the opening match on December 6, the Abu Dhabi Polo team take on Dr A Polo Team at 3 pm, while Edrees plays with UAE polo later in the day.
The UAE Polo team led by Sheikha Maitha consists of Jack Hyde, Ignacio Acuna and Matias Benoit while the Ghantoot team captained by Yousaf Bin Desmal is composed of Simon Zavaleta, Lucas Diaz Alberdi and Juan Ruiz Guinazu .
The Bin Drai team led by Rashid Din Drai is assisted by Marcos Panelo, Raul Laplacette and Pelayo Berzadi while the Abu Dhabi team skippered by Faris Al Yabouni has Facundo Llorente, Partricio Neves apart from Zavaleta in their side.
Edrees Polo team from Saudi Arabia is captained by Sultan Edrees and has Edouard Pan, Clement Delfosse and Pierre Ngoumou in the team while Dr A Polo team is led by Abdelrahman Abbar with Matias Machado, Maxi Malacalza and Santiago Laborde in the team.
The tournament with Abu Dhabi Sports Council as the Governing Partner is sponsored by Fine Home International Group, Sofitel Dubai Downtown, Dr Firas Dental & Orthodontic Center, Department of Transport – Abu Dhabi, Al Ahalia Hospital, The Galleria Mall, Forever Rose – London, Mercedes Benz, The Gift Concierge, Silk and Equestrio Arabia the official Media