The much anticipated finals day of the 2012 Annual B.Grimm Polo tournament took place at the picturesque Thai Polo & Equestrian Club near Horseshoe Point on Saturday, January 21.
Held to raise funds for HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s Chitralada Vocational School project, the tournament featured 9 polo teams from China, Malaysia, Singapore, Macau as well as defending champions the Thai Polo team, playing in a round robin format in the 10 days leading up to the ‘big’ event.
Team members gather for a group photo at the conclusion of the tournament.
Thursday’s semi finals featured the top four teams and saw local favorites Thai Polo edge past Royal Pehang from Malaysia 6-5 in the closest of matches, while La Sarita and Troika had a similar nail-biting affair with the former emerging victorious by a score of 11-10.
Saturday’s grand event saw hundreds of polo fans and debonair folk descend on the Thai Polo and Equestrian Club field to enjoy what has become one of the social events of the year. A huge and decorous marquee had been erected to provide all in attendance with a delicious buffet, wine and refreshments while around the ground were dotted numerous stall and tents offering sponsors ‘freebies’, shops selling polo related attire and even a fortune teller, presumably giving out tips on the final match.
Tournament winners La Sarita raise the Princess Cup trophy after winning the 2012 BMW-B.Grimm Thai Polo Open final.
To keep the young ones happy pony rides were organized, various games were held among the shady palm trees, and there was no shortage of tired horses requiring a little petting and pampering after their exertions on the field.
B.Grimm Polo has become something of a magnet for VIP’s and dignitaries to be seen at and this year was no exception. Notables in attendance were HRH Crown Prince Abdullah ibni Sultan Admad Shah of Pahang, Malaysia, German ambassador Rolf Schulze, Argentine ambassador Ana Maria Ramirez and the Saudi Arabian Charge D’Affaires H.E. Nabil Hussein Ashri.
Runners-up Thai Polo are congratulated by Saudi Arabian Charge D’Affaires H.E. Nabil Hussein Ashri (left).
Prior to the final match taking place, a children’s polo exhibition was held to put a spotlight on the stars of tomorrow, and following the traditional stomping of divots by all and sundry a special parade was held on the field showcasing sponsor BMW’s latest and sleekest cars now available in Thailand.
In a very exciting and close final, Asad Jumabhouy and his La Sarita team claimed the Princess Cup, beating defending champions Thai Polo by the narrowest of margins to win the BMW-B.Grimm Thai Polo Open 2012.
It was an extremely well fought match between two great teams as La Sarita’s experienced foursome knocked Thai Polo out of the winner’s circle by half a goal on handicap, with a final score of 8½ to 8.
The polo stars of tomorrow show off their skills.
In a dramatic 4th chukka, Thai Polo fought hard to pull back 3 goals and close the gap on their Malaysian opponents. Then in the dying seconds, Thai Polo missed a penalty that would have secured victory for the home team and defending champions. Nevertheless, La Sarita had demonstrated strong play throughout the tournament and they emerged as worthy winners.
Third place honors went to another team from Malaysia, Royal Pahang with a score of 8 to 6 over Troika, who finished the tournament in 4th place.
Following the Cup presentation, made by the Argentine ambassador Ana Maria Ramirez and President of BMW Group Thailand, Matthias Pfalz, to the winning La Sarita team, a cocktail party was held outside the clubhouse with music provided by the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra, and to add a special finale to the occasion, a spectacular firework display lit up the sky as the spectators and players started to make their way home.
With all the fun and festivities of the day it was easy to lose track of the fact that the tournament is also a charity event and over 1 million baht was raised this year by the generous sponsors and spectators for HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s Chitralada Vocational School project.
Troika chase the ball downfield in the playoff match against Royal Pahang.
Looking one’s best is almost as important as the polo at this event.
A drop of ‘bubbly’ always adds to the party atmosphere.
Stopping the divots is a tradition at any polo event.
The pre-final parade is led from behind the wheel of a black BMW Z4 by Nunthinee Tanner, co-owner of the Thai Polo & Equestrian Club.
Avasada Pocmontri (left) won the Best Hat Award and Apinya Sevatasai (right) the Best Dress Award.
La Sarita and Thai Polo go head to head in the final match.
The horses once again received most of the star attention.