DubaI: The Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club, the UAE’s only Royal Polo Club, are set to launch their much-anticipated 2017-2018 season this weekend with a match that is fitting of the occasion and one that has the potential to be enthralling and entertaining.
Shaikh Maitha Bint Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, will skipper an all-star Beverly Hills women’s polo team against the Ghantoot Goes Pink men’s team of Abdullah Bin Dasmal, Nasser Al Shamsim Fahad Al Qubaisi and Ahmad Buqdain.
Other members of the women’s team include Princess Azemah, daughter of the King of Brunei, Germany’s Sandra Schneider, a Dubai-based PR guru and Marianele Gastagnola, a pro player, instructor and horse trainer from the famous polo town of Canuelas, Buenos Aires in Argentina.
The match is the centrepiece of Pink Polo Day, the traditional curtain raiser to the Ghantoot Racing & Polo club season, which extends over five months and culminates in the British Polo Day on March 24, 2018.
Now in its eighth year, Pink Polo Day is one of a series of charity events that will take place at the Abu Dhabi-based club, which was created by Shaikh Falah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to sustain the passion that his late father, Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, had for the regal game of polo.
Bin Dasmal said he was looking forward to Friday’s match, now that he has made a successful recovery from injury.
“Obviously I expect to be a bit rusty, but you have to start somewhere, and this is as good a place as any,” he said during a press conference ahead of the event. “This is just the first game of the season so we are not putting too much pressure on ourselves.
“Having said that we have a tricky opponent. They are all women but we don’t intend to underestimate them. They are all highly accomplished players so I would say that we have to look sharp.
“It’s a bit tricky, because you don’t really want to beat them, but at the same time we can’t afford to lose either, can we? I suppose we’ll all just go out and have a lot of fun, enjoy that game and keep the fans entertained.”
Bin Dasmal, who plays in the tactical, number three position, says he is pleased to see women like Shaikh Maitha and Princess Azemah playing a sport that has in the past been male dominated.
“It just goes to show the growth and development of women’s sport in our country,” he said. “Polo is well supported, well sponsored and draws large crowds.
“The Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club put on a good show and are keen promoters of events like this. It’s a good way to promote women in the sport and it can inspire more young women to take up the sport.”
Worldwide campaigns and events have helped raise awareness of important cancer initiatives and the Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club are committed to bringing the UAE community together around such an important health issue.
“We are delighted to be involved in such an important health topic as breast cancer, which is the leading cause of cancer deaths in women worldwide,” said Saeed Bin Hoofan Al Mansouri, Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club, Vice-Chairman.
“We invite all polo enthusiasts and families to attend our Pink Polo Day which is supported by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council.
Dr Varun Katyalm, Regional Director, Medeor 24×7 Hospital. said that they will be offering free examinations and advice at Ghantoot.
“At Pink Polo 2017, Medeor 24×7 Hospital will be raising breast cancer screening and awareness,” he said.