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31th October 2013 – The third British Polo Day China, presented by Land Rover, took place on Saturday 19th October at Sunny Times Polo Club. The four teams competing in this year’s Beijing International Polo Open Tournament 2013 were China Argentina United, British Exiles, New Zealand and Spain. Beijing was a hub of British activity in the week leading up to the event, with official visits from the British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
The advance party for British Polo Day China was invited by The British Embassy Beijing, under the auspices of The GREAT Campaign, to hear Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Chancellor George Osborne speak on consecutive evenings. With London and Britain suitably championed, players, media and guests arrived at the airport on Tuesday morning.
The first match saw China Argentina United take control against Spain and they ran out comfortable winners 8 – 4 ½. The second match of British Exiles against New Zealand was a more even affair, with only half a goal in it going into the last, but the Kiwis closed out the encounter 6 – 3 ½ in their favour. The Subsidiary Final was held the next day and British Exiles eked out a half goal win against Spain to retain The Queen’s Cup 8 – 7 ½.
The third British Polo Day China was attended by three-tiers of The Chinese Government, over one hundred and fifty members of the Chinese & International Press and more than a thousand guests with the most spectacular event in the recent history of modern polo in the region. The tree fringed setting of the expansive new number one ground lies in the shadow of the surrounding mountains of Yanqing County and is adjacent to The Great Wall itself.
The first chukka got off to a quick scoring run by China Argentina United with 5-goaler Horacio Llorente slotting a strong lofted penalty between the flags. This was then followed by another quick goal by 4-goaler Marcial Socas. The second chukka saw New Zealand finding their stride and a long drive from the team’s 5-goal Captain David Miller resulted in a goal back for the visitors. 4-goaler Jonny Coddington was also effective during this period with strong runs but China Argentina United then found their range to score three goals in quick succession to go into half time with a 4-1 advantage. New Zealand rallied after the break, with Jonny Coddington and Simon MacDonald combining well, to close the gap to 5-3 going into the 4th. China Argentina United though were not to be denied and a frenetic and exhilarating final chukka resulted in what was in the end an emphatic 8 – 3 win for the home nation.
The host of British Polo Day China, Club Chairman and a man widely renowned as the founder of modern polo in China, Mr Xia Yang hoisted The Gold Cup aloft to a jubilant reception from the home crowd. Elation for China and their first win in the tournament’s three-year history.
A British tea was then served by InterContinental Beijing – Financial Street. Taittinger champagne and Justerini & Brooks’ superb house wines sustained the happy atmosphere. Fürst Wallerstein beer, shipped especially for the occasion by British Polo Day Germany’s host Prince Carl-Eugen zu Oettingen-Wallerstein, provided a refined pint to what is now an increasingly interconnected global polo series.
Of the return of British Polo Day to China, His Excellency – British Ambassador to China Sebastian Wood – said: “This event is a fitting showcase for British luxury brands, which are increasingly popular among the most discerning Chinese consumers”.
Of the third British Polo Day China, Mr Xia said, “I’m very happy. The event has been an enormous success. We received a lot of media attention and to see the increase in interest is definitely the highlight of the day. I think Polo development in China is becoming more prosperous and is on the right track gathering in attention and participation. Our partnership with British Polo Day is a perfect equestrian collaboration which combines the assets of Polo as a competition as well as a perfect platform for tourism, culture, sports and businesses.”
Edward Olver, Co-Founder of British Polo Day concluded, “A polo field in the shadow of the Great Wall of China is a fantasy that we see become a reality here. We are all very moved by the positivity and excitement that exists about the development and re-establishment of this great game in China. The British Polo Day is delighted to be a bridge between cultures and a wonderful platform to celebrate luxury heritage.”
Officials and selected guests were then invited to a Gala Dinner, which was kindly hosted by Yanqing County. Lord Clement-Jones CBE, Deputy Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for China, attended as the British Representative for this occasion and the evening was a worthy ending to a remarkable week for British and Chinese relations.
The success of British Polo Day China pivoted around not only the backing and support of The Chinese Government, host Mr Xia Yang and his team at Sunny Times Polo Club but also on a British and International group of partners – Land Rover, The InterContinental Beijing – Financial Street, The InterContinental – Park Lane, Hackett, Charles Russell, Taittinger, Justerini & Brooks, Abercrombie & Kent, Ettinger, Grosvenor Stationary Company, Pendragon Productions, 3rd Home, Billionaire, Petrie PR, Fürst Wallerstein and Piaget.
Source: Petrie PR