Royal Commission for AlUla and La Dolfina Polo Team has announced a long-term partnership created to support the implementation of AlUla’s equestrian strategy, which aims to make AlUla a reference place for horse activities in the region, and a must-visit destination globally for horse enthusiasts. Adolfo Cambiaso, founder of La Dolfina Polo and widely regarded as the best polo player in history, will also become a destination advocate for AlUla.
The team also announced that it will be returning to AlUla to compete in the 2022 Desert Polo event after a successful debut at the world-first competition in January 2020, the country’s first official polo tournament. Set in the unique, specially-built desert arena in the shadows of the ancient site of Hegra, AlUla Desert Polo (February 11-12 2022) is one of the most unique locations to ever host the sport and provides an awe-inspiring backdrop for the best polo players in the world to perform.
This new partnership is a step towards the implementation of AlUla equestrian strategy, which aims to make AlUla a reference place for horse activities in the region, and a must-visit destination for Horse enthusiasts.
The partnership, supported by the Saudi Polo Fedaration, will bring together unique expertise through a new model of sport partnership built around three main cornerstones: cultural and equestrian synergies, a shared commitment to excellence and the development of the sport of polo in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The Argentine-based team, described as “a perfect team” due to its 40-goal handicap, made history by winning three consecutive Triple Crowns (Tortugas Open, Hurlingham Open and Argentine Open in 2013, 2014 and 2015). La Dolfina is the only team in polo history to hold this record.
“When we travelled to AlUla for the first Desert Polo, we were blown away by the breathtaking landscape of Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the entirely of the stunning desert of AlUla,” said Cambiaso.
“We learnt that the relationship of the Arabian Peninsula and horses extends for thousands of years as found in the archaeological inscriptions on the rocks in and around AlUla. Through the stunning intricately carved tombs at Hegra and the ‘open air library’ of Jabal Ikmah, we can understand how humans began to tame these magnificent creatures, and the role of the horse in the development of civilized human beings.”
Cambiaso added “We were very lucky to be amongst the first to experience these sites before it was an open destination throughout the full year, and now we look forward to returning. Desert Polo was an incredible event that not only introduced polo to Saudi Arabia but also helped the polo world discover Saudi with new eyes through AlUla. Seeing the commitment and passion to develop in polo, and sports in general, is a mission we share and want to help with.”
Phillip Jones, Chief Destination Management and Marketing Officer of the Royal Commission for AlUla, added, “Our role is to preserve and develop AlUla as a global destination for cultural heritage and eco-tourism with a long-term plan that preserves the area’s natural and historic heritage, while establishing AlUla as an attractive location to live, work, and visit.
“Aligning with the number one polo player in the world allows us to fuse our history of horsemanship and Adolfo’s expertise in polo to preserve our heritage and promote equestrian sports in the nation. The horse heritage story is real and rich and deep in AlUla and we look forward to our role in raising the profile of the sport in the country,” he added.
“We are honored and very excited that La Dolfina, through their partnership with The Royal Commission for AlUla, will be part of AlUla’s visionary journey through time, as documented in their masterplan. We have had great support from Adolfo and all the La Dolfina players and look forward to continuing our collaboration to build the world’s most successful polo team,” said Amr F Zedan, Chairman of Saudi Polo Federation.
Located 1,100 km from Riyadh, in North-West Saudi Arabia, AlUla is a place of extraordinary natural and human heritage. The vast area, covering 22,561km², includes a lush oasis valley, towering sandstone mountains and ancient cultural heritage sites dating back thousands of years to when the Lihyan and Nabataean kingdoms reigned.
The most well-known and recognised site in AlUla is Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. A 52-hectare ancient city, Hegra was the principal southern city of the Nabataean Kingdom and is comprised of more than 100 well preserved tombs with elaborate facades cut out of the sandstone outcrops surrounding the walled urban settlement.
Current research also suggests Hegra was the most southern outpost of the Roman Empire after conquering the Nabataeans in 106 CE.
In addition to Hegra, AlUla is home to a fascinating historical and archaeological sites such as: Ancient Dadan, the capital of the Dadan and Lihyan Kingdoms, which is considered one of the most developed 1st-millennium BCE cities of the Arabian Peninsula; thousands of ancient rock art sites and inscriptions at Jabal Ikmah; Old Town, a labyrinth of more than 900 mudbrick homes developed from at least the 12th century, and Hijaz Railway and Hegra Fort, key sites in the story and conquests of Lawrence of Arabia.
About La Dolfina Saudi and AIUla
La Dolfina is considered the most successful team in Polo as well as the most important polo organization in the world. Founded by the legendary Adolfo Cambiaso, the world’s greatest polo player. La Dolfina have been working with the Saudi Polo Federation since 2020, La Dolfina Polo team participated in the first ever AlUla Desert Polo in 2020, which was Saudi Arabia’s first official polo tournament under the newly formed Saudi Polo Federation.
This partnership, supported by the Saudi Polo Federation, brings together unique expertise through a new model of sport partnership built around three main cornerstones: cultural and equestrian synergies, a shared commitment to excellence and the development of the sport of polo in the Kingdom.
The appointment of Adolfo Cambiaso as the Global Ambassador of AlUla and AlUla as the official tourist destination of La Dolfina will harness the unique power of sports to promote this inimitable insight into human history at AlUla, raise the profile of Saudi Arabia as a sporting nation in polo and raise awareness of the cultural artefacts on show in the desert in order to promote capacity building and knowledge transfer with experts from all around the world.
About The Royal Commission for AlUla
The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) was established by royal decree in July 2017 to protect and safeguard AlUla, a region of outstanding natural and cultural significance in North-West Saudi Arabia. RCU is embarking on a long-term plan to develop and deliver a sensitive, sustainable transformation of the region, reaffirming it as one of the country’s most important archaeological and cultural destinations and preparing it to welcome visitors from around the world. RCU’s development work in AlUla encompasses a broad range of initiatives across archaeology, tourism, culture, education and the arts, reflecting the ambitious commitment to cultivate tourism and leisure in Saudi Arabia, outlined in Vision 2030.
About The Saudi Polo Federation (@SaudiPolo #SaudiPolo)
The Saudi Polo Federation (SPF) was established in July 2018 as a means of developing the sport across The Kingdom and establishing international best practice from grass roots to elite levels.
Aligned with key government stakeholders such as the General Sports Authority, the SPF works to further establish Saudi polo in a global context, continuing the work already undertaken by Saudi’s private polo patrons on the international stage.
The SPF seeks to encourage the sport among young Saudi men and women in accordance with the goals set out in the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, while reflecting the transformational journey taking place in Saudi Arabia.