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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Dubai Open Silver Cup

by Gonzalo Etcheverry

© Gonzalo Etcheverry: Habtoor Polo with HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed, Sultan Al Habtoor and Humaid Bin Drai
© Gonzalo Etcheverry: Habtoor Polo Winners of the Silver Cup!
© Gonzalo Etcheverry: The winning team: Habtoor Polo
© Gonzalo Etcheverry: Mohammed Al Habtoor for Habtoor Polo
© Gonzalo Etcheverry: Mohammed Al Habtoor celebrates
© Gonzalo Etcheverry: Habtoor Polo vs Abu Dhabi
©Gonzalo Etcheverry: Bentley are proud sponsors of the Gold Cup Series polo

It was an exciting final in the ‘Dubai Open’ polo – full of action and suspense. But only one team could be victorious. Gonzalo Etcheverry was there to witness Habtoor Polo take the game to claim the Silver Cup.

The spectators were on the edge of their seats in suspense from start to finish, but the excitement ratchet up a notch in the final minutes of the match. The score was tied at nine goals each and it looked like Abu Dhabi was about to win until Mohammed Al Habtoor saved what looked likely to be a certain goal. That was enough to give Habtoor Polo the upper hand, and in the extra chukka, Ezequiel Martínez made a great move to score the winning goal and claim the Silver Cup. No surprise then that Martínez was crowned the MVP (Most Valued Player) of the final – and the tournament.

The first half of the game was dominated by Habtoor Polo, but the second half saw a comeback from Abu Dhabi as it tied the game after being three goals down. Faris Al Yabouni´s team missed two chances to win the game in the last minute of the fifth chukka. However, the Abu Dhabi patron was named the Best Amateur Player of the tournament.

Six teams took part in the Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series: Habtoor Polo, Mahra Polo, Zedan Polo, Bin Drai Polo, Abu Dhabi Polo and Ghantoot Polo. The Silver Cup ran from February 2nd-16th with the Gold Cup coming into play on February 25th until March 15th.

The event, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, has grown in tandem with the city of Dubai and is now recognised internationally.

With its exciting mix of first-class sportsmanship and the usual glamour associated with the sport, the so-called Dubai Open has earned itself a reputation as one of the most prestigious events on the international polo calendar. It’s also one of the most important annual tournaments in the region and always attracts a high profile crowd. Mohammed Al Habtoor, the Chairman of the Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series said, “I am proud to see Dubai playing host to yet another top polo event. Each year the event reaches new heights. Dubai has quickly gained popularity and found its place on the Polo world stage. In 2012 the Dubai Gold Cup Series was recognised by the World Polo Tour (WPT).”

Al Habtoor added, “This year we have upped the stakes by increasing the handicap from 15 to 16 goals. This means the Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series (Dubai Open) is now the highest handicapped tournament in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.”

Sponsors of the Gold Cup Series include quintessential international polo brand La Martina, luxury car manufacturer Bentley Emirates, Al Habtoor Motors, SpeedFit, car rental firm DiamondLease and Hildon water.

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