Audemars Piguet Team wins King's Cup Elephant Polo 2010 The PuristS Report
The 2010 Kings Cup Elephant Polo tournament was held in the pastoral surroundings of the Anantara Golden Triangle Resort. Main sponsors Audemars Piguet also fielded the eventual winners out of twelve teams that provided spectators with exciting matches, a romantic setting and a worthy cause to support.
From 22 28th March, twelve polo teams from eight countries participate in the annual competition to raise funds for the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre and the National Elephant Institute. The teams gathered in Chiang Rai in the North of Thailand and battled it out for the 9th championship of this unique and increasingly competitive sport; with each passing year more professional horse polo players have been recruited and re-trained in this polo variant. The real winners are the elephants, as over US$300,000 has been raised since the tournament started in 2001 to help provide protection and support for the redundant Thai elephant and their mahouts. It is estimated that Thailand's elephant population has dwindled to just over 4,000, with 2,500 domesticated and only 1,500 in the wild.
Increasing in popularity, The Kings Cup Elephant Polo has grown from a two-day event with six teams to a 7-day jamboree with 12 teams from four continents, drawing 40 players from 15 different countries. The final match pitted King Power against defending champions Audemars Piguet team. It was a close game until the 2nd chukka, where Audemars Piguets superior polo-skills and strategy eventually showed, with the team coming from behind to win. King Power started with a 1-goal handicap advantage (4 5 starting score) and looked like they would romp home by scoring the first gameplay goal in the first 30 seconds but it was the stick skill and teamwork of captain Peter Prentice and brothers, Uday and Angad Kalaan, that took the Audemars Piguet team to a 10 6 win over Kings Power.
The gala dinner garnered 1.8 million Baht for the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre and the National Elephant Institute, the official beneficiaries of the annual event and the most expensive item was an Audemars Piguet Millenary Limited Edition watch in white gold.
Final Placings of the 2010 Kings Cup Elephant Polo Tournament:
1. Audemars Piguet
2. King Power (Duty-Free)
3. Mercedes Benz
4. SOCO International
5. Four Seasons Tented Camp
6. Veuve Clicquot
8. TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand)
11. Anantara Golden Triangle Resort
12. PTT AMEX
Semi-finals: Audemars Piguet beats SOCO International
Some goals are dribbled across the line.
Other goals are full whacks across the pitch!
Reach for your goal !
When two worlds collide!
Why this young Thai player gets voted one of the Most Valuable Young Players of the Tournament
As this is The King's Cup Elephant Polo Tournament, the King of Thailand sends a Royal Representative if he is unable to attend. That courtier (white uniform and no hat) is accorded the usual honours and salutes.
Security was vigilant.
The youth band played the National Anthem
The elephants and mahouts saluted.
Starting handicap scores 4 5 in King Power's favour as AP were defending champions
Bully-off and here we go!
Just a little more....
G-O-A-L ! AP Team Captain Peter Prentice scores and breaks his stick
Samantha Prentice (polo player, camera wallah, stick-chick and all-round good egg) brings on a spare stick for her husband
The other team had stick-chicks too !
Final Score and AP wins again
Elephants are switched at half-time so both teams get to use the fast and slow pachyderms. E1 and F1 were particularly swift mounts. I've got a photo of F3 elephant, which was so slow that I could have used crayons to make a drawing instead!
Uday & Angad Kalaan and captain Peter Prentice for Team Audemars Piguet
Appreciation for the elephants and mahouts
The King's Cup held high again
The tireless referee who covered all the matches of the week on foot! Usually in horse polo there are two referees on ponies but only one man on foot for elephant polo. He must be the fittest man in Chiang Rai.
After the match, even elephants need a stretch
It's all organic