Foreign stars lead16-strong field
The fifth edition of the King's Cup Elephant Polo Tournament will be held September 5-11 at the Development and Resources Preservation Division (formerly known as 16th Infantry Division or Som Dej Phra Suriyothai Military Camp) in the coastal resort town of Hua Hin, Prachuab Khiri Khan Province.
Sixteen local and international teams are participating in the event which has grown from a two-day outing of amateurs four years ago to become a week-long competition attracting ranking professional sides, and an integral part of Hua Hin's tourist calendar.
Teams participating this year include Mercedes Benz Germany, PricewaterhouseCoopers/Air New Zealand/Swiss International Airlines/ All Blacks, Chivas Regal, Chivas Thailand All Stars, Angus Estates, Singapore Polo Club, Sandalford Winery, Element, Tickle & the Ivories, Mullis Capital, Shanghai Tang, DHL Global Mail Wallabies, Knight All Stars, American Express/UBC Thailand, British Airways Army team and Anantara Visitors team.
The tournament will also feature the world's top horse polo players and, Bernie Fraser, the former New Zealand All Blacks rugby star, and for the first time Nick Farr-Jones and Peter Fitzsimmons of the Australian Wallabies team.
``We're glad that the event has helped put Hua Hin on the international tourist map and this will probably be the last year for Anantara Resorts and Spa to spearhead the project. We'd rather put it to the provincial authorities to handle the future event,'' said Wanida Khunthipmark, the event's public relations officer.
She said the King's Cup Elephant Polo in Hua Hin has received so much attention that it's regarded an international event.
Next year, it's likely to see the event move to Nepal or Sri Lanka and Thai people would probably have to wait a few years until it returns here once again.
Spectators can watch the event free of charge.
The tournament is a charity event introduced in 2001 by Christopher Stafford, vice president of Anantara Resorts & Spa. It's so far raised four million baht for the National Elephant Institute in Lampang.
Organisers will hold a charity gala evening dubbed ``Matadors & Senoritas'' on September 10 at the Anantara Resort and Spa Hua Hin to raise fund for the institute. Tickets can be purchased at the resort.
Reservations can be made by calling (032) 520 250 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bangkok Post August 2005 www.bangkokpost.com
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