Rain brings early halt to Polo Open final

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An unexpected downpour forced the cancellation of the final match at the 11th Carrier-B. Grimm Thai Polo Open on January 14, which saw teams from Thailand and Malaysia both walk away with the first prize.

Team captains Mohamed Moiz of La Familia (left) and Harald Link of Thai Polo (right) jointly hoist the HRH Princess Sirindhorn Cup after the final of the 2017 Thai Polo Open was curtailed due to heavy rain.
Team captains Mohamed Moiz of La Familia (left) and Harald Link of Thai Polo (right) jointly hoist the HRH Princess Sirindhorn Cup after the final of the 2017 Thai Polo Open was curtailed due to heavy rain.

With Thai Polo leading the championship match 4-3 over opponents La Familia going into the third and final chukka, the first sprinklings of rain began which led to the game being initially suspended.  As the rain got progressively heavier, however, it became clear that any resumption in play could lead to a possible risk of injuries being sustained by both horses and players.  Consequently it was decided to declare the game a draw and both team captains were presented with a share of the champions’ HRH Princess Sirindhorn Cup.

Horses and humans combined to provide a colorful and exciting spectacle.
Horses and humans combined to provide a colorful and exciting spectacle.

Five teams from three nations participated in this annual tournament.  In addition to host Thai Polo and final opponents La Familia, the event organized by the Equestrian Sports Association and B. Grimm Carrier (Thailand) Co. drew the Malaysia International team and Royal Pahang from Malaysia as well as Axus from China.  The Royal Pahang squad included royalty in its ranks in the form of HRH Prince Hassanal Shah and HH Prince Amir Ibrahim.

Equestrian fans and socialites turned out in large numbers to enjoy the day.
Equestrian fans and socialites turned out in large numbers to enjoy the day.

Axus finished as second runners-up in the tournament, Royal Pahang came third and the Malaysia International team were left holding the wooden spoon.

Thai Polo and La Familia players battle for possession during the first chukka of the final.
Thai Polo and La Familia players battle for possession during the first chukka of the final.

The Thai Polo Open has been held annually for charity purposes in which the proceeds are donated to the Chitralada Vocational School.

Arinadtha ‘Mint’ Chavatanont and her Clapton C horse gave a fine dressage performance.
Arinadtha ‘Mint’ Chavatanont and her Clapton C horse gave a fine dressage performance.

The event also included a horse dressage performance by Arinadtha ‘Mint’ Chavatanont and her Clapton C horse.  She is a Thai champion in horse dressage and will represent the nation at the upcoming SEA Games 2017 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.   A horse jumping competition was also held to find a qualifier for the SEA Games.

Supporters at the event all dressed to impress.
Supporters at the event all dressed to impress.

Amid the natural surroundings of Thai Polo Club, celebrities and socialites dressed up for the occasion, including H.E. Peter Prugel, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Thailand.  The event featured special activities and charity booths such as pony riding for children, massage services and shopping outlets featuring high brand names products.

(Photos provided by Dominic James, www.dominic-james.com.)