Tianjin to host snow polo event

Updated: 2012-12-14 21:47

By Wang Meizhen and Li Xiang in Tianjin (chinadaily.com.cn)

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The Fortune Heights Snow Polo World Cup 2013 will take place from Jan 25 to Feb 3 at Tianjin's Metropolitan Polo Club.

The team draw for the event was held on Thursday at the Metropolitan Polo Club.

Hong Kong, last year's winner, will have its first match against Brazil.

"Last year, we did a very good job. This year, we just organized the team members the same as last year. And I'm confident we will do another good job this year," said Lu Yaoqiang, the representative of the Hong Kong team.

Tournament Director Peter Abisheganaden conducted the draw, with representatives from the Tianjin Sports Bureau and 12 team representatives from each polo association: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, England, France, Hong Kong, India, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States.

"In recent years, Tianjin's ever-growing economy tremendously promoted the development of culture," said Huang Weimian, deputy director of the Tianjin Sports Bureau. "Part of the effort of the Tianjin Sports Bureau is to promote this horse culture in Tianjin."

"The event is open to the public and there are some activities in addition to the polo event itself," Huang added. "For example, it also involves a carnival and other entertainment activities."

Established in 1982 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the Federation of International Polo aims to promote polo globally and unite national polo associations across the globe.

"The situation in China at present is that we have three clubs that are very active. One is in Beijing, one is in Shanghai, and one is here, the largest club. As far as the development here, there is a program here to develop Chinese players. We've had recently a program for children here to demonstrate the sport among boys and girls. China will rise in prominence," said Richard Caleel, FIP's president.

Snow polo first emerged in Europe as a winter alternative to grass polo, and it then spread to the US.

The major difference from grass polo is that instead of a white ball made of ballistic plastic, snow polo's ball is a large bright orange ball, which is easier to spot on the snow.

Tianjin's Metropolitan Polo Club opened in November 2010. Apart from being the host venue of the 2012 inaugural FIP Snow Polo World Cup, major international fixtures on the club's annual calendar include various spring and autumn tournaments and matches for different levels of play, from young to professional players.