Mohammed K Al Habtoor, Saeed Hareb, Santiago Torreguitar, and Keith Ryan during the press conference.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
The high-goal polo season in the UAE is set to kick off on Saturday with the Silver Cup tournament.
The first tournament of the Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series (DPGCS) — the Silver Cup — will be played at a 20-goal handicap for the first time since its inception 13 years ago.
The draw for the prestigious event took place at the picturesque Al Habtoor Polo Resort where the official fixture of the tournament was also announced.
Five tournaments fall under the umbrella of the Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series are: Silver Cup (20-goal handicap), January 21 to February 4, Gold Cup (20-goal handicap) from February 11 to March 4, Dubai Challenge Cup (8-10 goal handicap) from March 11-18, Polo Masters Cup (6-8 goal handicap) April 3-8, and Dubai Cup (6-8 goal handicap) from May 8-13.
The World Polo Tour (WPT) recognises all the tournaments played under the Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series and ranks them amongst the top polo competitions in the world.
Several of these are played in categories such as WPT Championship Cup, WPT Cup, and WPT Challenge Cup.
The Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series started in 2009 with tournaments carrying a handicap of 10-12 goals and has grown to host teams playing in 20-goal handicap matches which are on a par with world-class polo events held in Argentina, USA, UK, and Spain.
Mohammed K Al Habtoor, founder of the Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series and patron of the Habtoor Polo team, said: “I am thrilled to be introducing this year’s 20-goal-handicap Silver Cup. This is the call for all our homegrown teams to rise up and elevate their game, bringing the finest display of polo on our fields this season.
He continued: “We welcome the five teams partaking in this challenge. I continue to be grateful for the continued support of sponsors, partners, the patrons, the Dubai Sports Council, and the local and regional polo community.
“I look forward to seeing the new roster of players that each team has chosen to compete with this year and ultimately lift the most coveted polo trophies in the region.”
He added, “As the Chairman of the UAE Polo Federation, my passion for the sport will never cease. My primary goal is to ensure the longevity of polo through the collaborative effort of the team and the respective clubs in the country. We strive to consistently provide a robust and inclusive polo calendar for players from all levels.”
The draw was also attended by Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of the Dubai Sports Council,Santiago Torreguitar, Director of Tournaments at the UAE Polo Federation, Keith Ryan, General Manager Bauer International, dignitaries and members of the participating teams.
“The UAE Polo Association’s Board of Directors have shown a great interest in the sport, and anyone who plays the game can sense this significant difference,” said Hareb.
The final of the Silver Cup will take place on February 4 on the grounds of Al Habtoor Polo Resort and Club.
Five team taking part in competition include
UAE Polo Team (Patron: Sheikha Maitha Bint Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum), AM Polo Team (Patron: Sheikha Alia Al Maktoum), Bangash Polo Team (Patron: Haider Bangash),
Dubai Wolves (Patron: Habtoor Al Habtoor),
Habtoor Polo Team (Patron: Mohammed Al Habtoor)
The Silver Cup 2023 is played under the banner of the Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA), with strict international supervision according to the HPA rules and provision of its umpires.
The tournament falls under World Polo Tour’s WPT Cup Category, where winners will be awarded 60 points, finalists with 30 points, semi-finalists with 15 points and remaining players with 8 points.