With a good start at the opening tournaments, top players are headed for the seventh edition of the Soldier’s Salute Championships at Nairobi Polo Club on Saturday.
Why the title Soldier’s Salute?
As a soldier who served in the British Army for over three decades, top sponsor Major (Retired) Jamie Hayward saw it wise to salute Nairobi Polo Club members with a crucial tournament for their warm camaraderie and hospitality to him for a decade as a club member.
And it is the reason he named it Soldier’s Salute Championships.
“Hence, the title Soldier’s Salute Championships for the club members warm camaraderie and hospitality to me from the time I joined the club in 2006,” Hayward who retired from the British Army three years back told Standard Sports.
The tournament is being used to expose youngsters against experienced old guards in readiness for national and international championships that are coming over later in the year will serve the intended purpose.
After the participation of Kenya’s top player handicap 5 Casimir Gross in the Davis Cup, Hayward welcomed more experienced players in the two day tournament.
“We are out to ensure youngsters benefit from our exposure and it’s the reason we begin each year with these tournaments before the season proper takes off in May,” he added.
Kenya Polo Association Secretary General Silke Hampson said the fixtures of the tournament should be ready in two days’ time.
“Full fixtures should be ready in the next two days as we want to bring everybody on board for the competitiveness of the tournament,” she said.
Some of the players who featured in the Maria Bencivenga Memorial Championships at the same venue last week are expected to feature in the tournament.
Like Hayward, Nairobi Polo Club chairman Raphael Nzomo welcomed all players from the four polo clubs in the country to take part in the tournament.
”Our pride is to see players feature in this tournament ahead of Chairman’s Cup next week,” he said.
*MICT’s Jamie Hayward escaped with minor injuries after losing balance before falling-off his horse in their play-off match against Samurai during two days Chairman’s Cup tournament held at Nairobi Polo Club over the weekend. Samurai won 3-2. Feb 1, 2021. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]