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Elephants and Polo Players Kick off the 2013 King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament

September 2, 2013 Destination Thailand No Comments Email Email
The 2013 King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament kicked off today in the royal seaside town of Hua Hin, with the opening day of the event offering a spectacle of seasoned elephant polo players, colourful parades, Thailand’s last elephant spirit men and 50 street elephants.

The proceedings began early this morning with a traditional ceremony overseen by a Brahmin who placed sacred garlands over the necks of the 50 elephants and then blessed them with a trickle of scented water. Thailand’s last elephant spirit men (Khru Ba Yai), who possess spiritual control over all elephants, also presided over the rituals and assured the polo players and spectators alike that the tournament would indeed be a resounding success. In addition, school children from across the region joined ‘Chang Noi’ Day, a special event designed to teach children about elephants in Thailand.

The opening match saw reigning champions, King Power, take on first timers CDD The Devil. King Power were in great form, with Khun Nattapong Pratumlee scoring the first goal of the tournament. It wasn’t as one sided as perhaps expected, with a final scoreline of 7-9. Tiffany’s Show Pattaya, who participated in a celebrity match against the New Zealand All Blacks last year, have joined the full tournament for 2013 and played their debut against Rueang Chang, losing 10-3.

The game of the day was Mercedes Benz V Mekhong, which ended with a scoreline of 15-7. There was impressive play on both sides, with celebrity player Cindy Bishop proving a great all-rounder, with excellent defense and scoring several of the goals for Mekhong. The tightest game of the day was key event sponsors, Audemars Piguet, against Pricewaterhouse Coopers, which saw a close match throughout, with Audemars Piguet clinching the win with two goals in the closing minutes.

All elephants taking part in the tournament are street elephants that receive essential vitamin supplements, full veterinary checks and care for the duration of the tournament. All funds raised from this year’s King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament will be donated to various projects throughout Thailand. To date the tournament has raised almost half a million US dollars.

Day 1 – Scores
CDD The Devil V King Power 7 – 9
Sara Story Design V Citi 4 – 2
Mercedes Benz V Mekhong 15 – 7
Rueang Chang V Tiffany’s Show Pattaya 10 – 3
Audemars Piguet V Pricewaterhouse Coopers 9 – 7
JW Blue Label VAnantara 12 – 4
Arabian Knights V Whisgars 4 – 8
PTT V Bangkok Bank 5 – 5
Sara Story Design V King Power
CDD The Devil V Citi
Rueang Chang V Mercedes Benz
MekhongV Tiffany’s Show Pattaya
Audemars Piguet V JW Blue Label
Anantara V Pricewaterhouse Coopers 

Khru Ba Yai - Thailand's last spirit men bless the elephant

Khru Ba Yai – Thailand’s last spirit men bless the elephant

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