The Malaysian Open Polo Tournament was launched today with a short ceremony at Bukit Kiara with a symbolic throwing-in of a ball.
This is the 3rd successive year of the Malaysian Open Polo tournament, and it is scheduled to coincide with Malaysia's 50th Anniversary Merdeka celebrations, and visit Malaysia Year 2007, therefore it was fitting that it was launched by YB Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansur, the Minister of Tourism.
Tengku Adnan called it a significant year, with 240 special events held throughout the year, including the Petronas Formula 1, Monsoon Cup, Malaysia AI Grand Prix, the Malaysia Motorcycle Cup Prix, Pulau Pinang International Dragon Boat Festival and the Sarawak Regatta and now the Malaysian Open Polo contributing to the sports tourism economy of Malaysia.
The High Commissioner of Pakistan Lt General Thair Qazi generously donated a huge polo trophy from the Shandur region that is famous for its polo. He highlighted that long relationship that Pakistan has had with Malaysia with their first High Commissioner, General Sher Ali Khan, who was a very active polo player in Malaysia in the 60's and 70's.
Malaysian Open President Khairy Jamaluddin accepted the trophy on behalf of the Tournament. Her also thanked the many sponsors who had come forward to support this tournament, especially Hong Leong Finance, Eurocopter and Astro.
The Malaysian Open Polo is the last big tournament of the polo season before the SEA Games in December. Eight teams are entered for this 8 to 10 goal international tournament. They are BRDB, Ranhill Polo, Punjab, Royal Pahang, Thailand Polo, USA Polo, La Sarita and Jogo Polo. Amongst the standout players to watch are USA World Cup Finalist Stevie Orthwein Jr (+4), Pakistan's World Cup stars Qublai Alam (+4) and Sattar Khan (+5) who play in the Punjab team, Argentinians Marcelo Caset (+6), Hector Monserrat (+3), Ginnes Bargalo (+6), Carlos Pando (+6) and local stars Shaik Reismann (+2), brothers Chevy (+3) and Joervy Beh (+3) Edham Shaharuddin (+4) and Huzaini Yunos (+5).
The tournament moves this year to Taman Equestrian Putrajaya to be part of Malaysia's 50th Merdeka celebrations. Play will start on Sunday 2nd September with the B Division playing their matches there.
The Malaysian Open Polo tournament proper begins on Tuesday 4th September with two matches. For the first time teams will play on an "open" basis, with no handicap advantages given. If matches are drawn after 4 chukkas, we will see a very exciting extra chukka played. Whichever ever team scores the golden goal in sudden-death wins the match.
Teams advance in this knock-out tournament to the Malaysian Open Final which will be held on Sunday 9th September.
The South East Asian World Cup League will also mark the 10th Anniversary of World Cups in Malaysia with a World Cup event at Putrajaya on Sunday 9th September.
Spectators will also be entertained by a spectacular trick riding and tent-pegging display by the President's Bodyguard troupe from India. They are being flown in to perform specially at the Malaysian Open Polo Tournament.