LAHORE-BN Polo Team clinched the coveted trophy of Pantera Energy Aibak Polo Cup 2021 after beating Remounts by 10½-8 in the main final played here at the Lahore Polo Club ground on Sunday.
His Excellence M Madikiza, High Commissioner of South Africa in Pakistan, graced the concluding ceremony as chief guest and distributed prizes and shields among the winners and top performers. Other notables present on the occasion were Pantera Energy CEO Furqan Ali Akhtar, Director Marketing Taimoor, Lahore Polo Club President Omer Sadik, executive committee members Agha Murtaza, Shah QubilaiAlam, Feroz Gulzar, Usman Haye, Saqib Khan Khakwani, Agha Murtaza, Lt Col (r) Mudassar Sharif, IOC representative in Pakistan Syed Shahid Ali Shah, polo players and their families.
Argentine’s Juan Maria Ruiz was the hero of the final from BN Polo Team with a classic contribution of superb seven goals. He was ably assisted by his teammates Raja Mikail Sami and another foreign player Eulogio Celestino, who converted 2 and 1 goal respectively. From Remounts, Ignacio Negri though played tremendous polo and smashed in splendid seven goals and Vieri Antinori struck one but their efforts were futile.
BN, who had a half goal handicap advantage, were off to flying start as they launched a series of attacks on Remounts’ goal and succeeded in converting three goals against two by Remounts, who also matched fire-with-fire. After the end of the first chukker, BN were enjoying a slight 3½-2 lead. BN maintained their supremacy in the second chukker as well, where they added three more goals in their tally against one goal by Remounts to enhance their lead to 6½-3.
The third chukker was then evenly poised, where both the sides managed to score one goal apiece and made it 7½-4. The highly-charged fourth and last chukker saw both the finalists displaying high-quality polo and converting the goals one after another. This time Remounts played better polo and managed to fire in four goals but it was too little too late situation for them as BN also managed to hammer a hat-trick of goals, thus won the final by 10½-8. Nicolas Scortichini and Marcelo Garrahan supervised the final as field umpires.
For displaying outstanding polo skills and techniques during the final, Juan Maria Ruiz emerged as the best player of the final. The most energetic player of the final award went to Babar Naseem while the best polo pony award was claimed by Kanela. Talking to media, Juan Maria Ruiz said: “I am playing in Lahore, Pakistan for the third consecutive season and I am very much impressed with the great hospitality of Lahorites. I am also enjoying my polo season in Pakistan, which is becoming more competitive and challenging with each passing year. The future of polo in Pakistan is very bright.”
Earlier in the nail-biting subsidiary final, Barry’s beat Colony Polo Team by 7½-6. Ernesto Trotz was star of the day from Barry’s as he thrashed in fabulous four goals while Santiago Gomes Romero and Farasat Ali Chatha converted one goal apiece. From Colony Polo Team, Francisco Bensadon and Abbas Mukhtar though played well and slammed in a hat-trick each yet they couldn’t help their side win the match.