The 19th Emirates Polo Championships International galloped off on a blistering note at the Ghantoot Racing &Polo Club with five top teams battling it out over the next two weeks. A total cash prize of $100,000 is up for grabs with the winning team collecting $60,000 and the runner-up $40,000.
The big question on the minds of enthusiasts revolves around the players to keep an eye on and who are the favourites to win the Prize Money and the prestigious trophy on December 20? Polo Royals gathered that for many, the Emirates Polo Championships signals the proper tart of the UAE Polo scene.
It is a high-profile event that provides fantastic action, close matches, upsets and also produces some unsung heroes like it did last season when Argentine’s exciting Tommy Panelo picked up the coveted Professional Player of the final award.
This year’s event has its share of star players, both from the UAE and foreigners, with several big-name players from Argentine, already showcasing their polo skills.
The five participating teams are Abu Dhabi Polo Team led by long-time polo enthusiast and supporter, Abdullah Bin Desmal’s Ghantoot Polo Team, Abu Dhabi Polo Team led by Faris Al Yabhouni.
Others are Shaikha Alyaa Al Maktoum and the Al Habtoor Polo Team, Desert Palm Polo Team led by Rashid Al Bawardy and Heider Bangash’s Mahra Bangash Polo Team.
The two highest-rated polo players in the 10-12 handicap event are Santiago Cernadas (7) who represents a strong-looking Al Habtoor Team and Ghantoot’s six-handicapper Manuel Toccalino.
The Emirates is widely regarded as one of the region’s most important polo events as it attracts some of the world’s top professional players.
Also in the Gulf region, AlUla Desert Polo, the first polo tournament in Saudi Arabia to be held in cooperation with the Saudi Polo Federation, is to make its debut on January 16-18, 2020 as part of the winter at Tantora cultural festival.
Cradled against the backdrop of one of Arabia’s best-kept secrets – the exquisite UNESCO heritage site in AlUla that will officially open to the public in October 2020 – AlUla Desert Polo represents a milestone in Saudi Arabia’s sporting and social journey.
A new concept in world polo and inspired by the prestigious snow polo tournament held in St Moritz, Switzerland, Desert Polo will feature some of the most renowned players and patrons in the world of polo.
Organized by the Royal Commission for AlUla in partnership with the Saudi Polo Federation, Desert Polo is one of the highlights of the three-month-long winter at Tantora festival, running from December to March and held in the historic and untouched region.