Dubai: The 2017-2018 Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club season moves into top gear when the UAE’s only Royal Polo Club hosts the prestigious 17th Emirates Open Polo Championship from Sunday.
Officially presented by Maserati — Premier Motors, the tournament features a series of group matches before it culminates in the final on Friday, December 22.
The Emirates Open is widely regarded as one of the region’s most important polo events as it attracts some of the world’s top professional players.
Five leading teams will compete in the 14 goal handicap level tournament which was first held in 2000.
Teams participating in this year’s Emirates Open are the Maserati Polo Team, Habtoor Polo Team, Desert Palm Polo Team, Abu Dhabi Polo Team and UAE Polo Team.
Commenting on Premier Motor’s principal sponsorship of the high-level event, Helal Hanei Omar, Vice-President, Premier Motors, said, “Premier Motors, the official Maserati dealer in Abu Dhabi, is pleased to be associated with the Emirates Open Polo Championship being held as part of the 2017-18 season at the Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club. Having a Maserati team, captained by the seasoned Emirati international polo player Abdullah Bin Dasmal, participating in the tournament will definitely add more excitement to this prestigious competition. We encourage all equestrian sport fans to come and enjoy this fantastic event.”
Jason Hughes, ADS Securites Head of Retail Sales, commented: “The Emirates Open Polo Championship is the event everyone has been waiting for.
“It is the first year we have sponsored this tournament and we are very excited to be part of what will be a fabulous few days of polo.”
Nehme Imad Darwiche, Group CEO, Jannah Hotels & Resorts, welcomed Shaikh Falah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club, its sponsors and guests on board.
“It is our pleasure to support the 17th edition of the Emirates Open Polo Championship at the Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club, which is one of the most successful and fastest growing sports institution of the UAE,” he said.
“The vision of Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club is a strong and inspiring one and we hope to assist the progress of the institution within the UAE and the GCC.
“We are honoured to partner with an event of such grand stature and one that develops Abu Dhabi’s role as a leading sports hub of the region,” Darwiche added.
HE Saeed Bin Houfan Al Mansour, Vice-Chairman, Board of Directors at the Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club said: “I would like to thank all our sponsors and patrons for their continued and faithful support.”
The qualification matches for the Emirates Open will kick-off on Sunday with back-to-back games at 4.00pm and 5.30pm.
Abdullah Bin Dasmal will lead the Maserati Polo Team which also comprises experienced Argentinian professionals — Lucas Diaz Alberdi, who plays with a handicap of +6 goal goals, Gregorio Gelosi (+4) and Felipe Llorente (+4).
Shaikha Maitha Bint Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, a former Olympian in taekwondo and Asian Games gold medallist in karate, is now an accomplished polo player who will lead the UAE Polo Team.
The team also comprises Argentine’s Matias Benoit, who plays with a handicap of +6 goals, and fellow countrymen Ignacio Acuna (+5) and Pablo Avalos (+2).