Zone E Play-Offs for FIP XI World Polo Championship
Between 29 June and 7 July, national teams from India, Pakistan, South Africa and Iran competed for the coveted final spot at the FIP XI World Polo Championship in Sydney, Australia this October.
The four teams had been efficiently preparing for the event, with Pakistan sending their squad to Sotogrande, Spain, whilst India sent their team to train in South Africa. Iran, on the other hand, sent their team to Argentina and even brought an Argentine squad back to Tehran to train against.
The competition was fierce and, although lacking experience in international competition, Iran fared extremely well throughout the tournament even managing a win against South Africa on the final day, to the delight of the home crowd.
But the main match of the tournament was the Final between the two long-standing rivals, India and Pakistan. The teams were evenly matched, but the well-drilled and experienced Indian team looked stronger and after two unfortunate dismounts from the Pakistan team, including one serious fall ending in a trip to hospital for an unconscious Ahmed Tiwana (who has now recovered), India took home the trophy and the place in Sydney with a score of 8-7.
The Zone E FIP XI World Polo Championships Play-Offs Teams (including reserves):
India: Padmanabh Singh, Ravi Rathore, Dhruv Pal Godara, Angad Kumar Kalaan, Siddhat Sharma & Pranav Kapur
Iran: Amirreza Behbodi, Bahador Babaei, Esmaeil Emami, Mahdi Pour Saadati Khoshk Abad, Mohammadgholi Zolfaghari, Mohammadreaz Behbodi, Reza Behbodi & Seyed Hasan Boori
Pakistan: Muhammad Saqib Khakwani, Sami Ullah Raja, Ahmed Tiwana, Muhammad Omer Minhas, Mumtaz Abbas Khan & Haseeb Minhas
South Africa: Selby James Williamson, Johannes Jacobus Pickard, Philippe Johann du Preez, Gary Louis Spilsbury, Michael William Osborn & Alexander Russell Watson
Photograph: India take on South Africa beneath the Tehran skyline. By Medhi Hassani from Chogan Magazine