Founder wins the 25th World Elephant Polo Championship for Scotland
Defending champions Chivas Regal Scotland relinquished their title at the 25th World Elephant Polo Championship in Nepal which took place between 26 November and 2 December - but the title remains with Scotland in this 25th anniversary year.
The Angus Estates team, captained by co-founder of the World Elephant Polo Association (WEPA) James Manclark, beat local challengers National Parks of Nepal in a thrilling final winning 8-6.
Manclark, from Haddington near Edinburgh, founded WEPA in 1982 with Jim Edwards, proprietor of Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge located within the Chitwan National Park in Nepal, where the world championship has been held ever since.
Sixty seven year old Manclark said: "This has been a magnificent way to complete 25 years. This is my most exciting sporting moment which I shall treasure for ever. I am also thrilled that we have kept the World Championship in Scotland for another year."
In a spectacular final played in front of a 2000 strong crowd the scores began 4-3 to Angus Estates according to the handicapping system. However Manclark, playing the first half on an elephant he owns, notched up 4 goals, the first of which was scored after just 44 seconds. Manclark continued to dominate play but was still ably assisted by his team mates, Jamie and Anne Douglas from Dalmahoy, Edinburgh, and David Wildridge.
The second half saw the National Parks try to reduce the deficit with a slight elephant advantage having swapped at half time. Led by Ram Pritt Yadav, the National Parks team of Kala Kamal, Sri Mangal Chaudhary and Rameshwor Chaudhary showed touches of brilliance benefiting from year-round work with the elephants. And after two and a half minutes they eventually notched up their first score with Ram Pritt Yadav evading some furious defence from Manclark and Wildridge.
Manclark's determination showed as he then took personal responsibility for the match storming between defence and attack. However Kala Kumal chalked a second score after 5 minutes to bring the scores to 8-5. Kala Kamal set up another goal with a longshot that was collected by Ram Pritt Yadav and converted to reduce the deficit to 2 goals. But with just 50 seconds left on the clock, Manclark won the restart with a hit deep into the opposition half and safety for the new World Champions.
Defending champions Chivas Regal Scotland who lost their semi-final to old rivals National Parks, took third place by beating Tiger Tops Tuskers 10-9. With scores tied at full time they entered a golden goal situation but wasted little time with Prentice scoring in the first minute. Playing without their captain the Duke of Argyll, the team still notched up the most goals in the tournament with a mighty 40, mostly scored by Peter Prentice.
Amateur Triumph for English based players
The Chivas Regal Olympic Quaich, for amateur teams who do no qualify for the World Championship playoffs, was won by an international team with members from Market Harborough, Sutton Coldfield, KathmanduÂ and Bermuda. The Queen Victoria's Own (QVO) team included Verity Davies, marketing manager for Market Harborough based Joules Clothing who supply several teams with official elephant polo kit, Richard Davies, Matt Bird from Sutton Coldfield and Chris Johnston from Bermuda. The side was captained by Rinchen Choegyal from Kathmandu.
In the amateur final they beat the Chopard sponsored Hong Kong team, consisting of Dave Garcia, John Titley, Roland Buser and Ricky Smith, 7-2 against the form book. Lead player Choegyal won the up-front battle with the skilful Buser who still showed flashes of brilliance when allowed to break away. However superior teamwork meant QVO's first half lead was defended and even extended in the second half to seal the victory.
The battle for 7th place was won by the International Tigresses team beating the British Gurkhas 4-2. The Tigresses - Tia Rongsen, Samantha Prentice, Carolyn Syangbo and Marsha Nazarova - battled hard against an agile team from the British Gurkas consisting of Sarah Marshall, Wes Hughes, Fritz Fraser, Jim Thornhill and Phil Lannon.
The All Nepal Challenge for mahoots, who both control their elephant and play with sticks, generated the anticipated fast and colourful display of elephant polo and was watched by an excited and knowledgeable crowd on prize giving day. Tiger Tops used their team work and positional play to good effect and lept to an early lead 4-2 lead in the first half. The second half saw National Parks try to reduce gap with long shots but were not able to convert effectively with the final score 6-4 to Tiger Tops.
For further information contact:
Jim Long (Chivas Regal Scotland/World Elephant Polo Association)
+ 44 (0) 208 250 1641 / + 44 (0) 7799 075072
Note to Editors:
- The event is organised by Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge on the edge of Chitwan National Park. The World Elephant Polo Championships will again be raising money for the local region and has supported schools and orphanages in the area throughout the history of the tournament.
Notes on Elephant Polo:
- The World Elephant Polo Association was founded 25 years ago in Nepal by two Brits, James Manclark and Jim Edwards
- It has now become a series of world-class events embodying superb skill and daring, undertaken in a spirit of fun and goodwill, and at the same time contributing to charity
- Over the years the event has drawn many well know faces including; HH Princess Jyotsna of Nepal, The Duke and Duchess of Argyll, Billy Connelly, Steven Seagal and Stephanie Powers
- Tournaments are held in Sri Lanka, Thailand and Nepal each year
- Under the auspices of the World Elephant Polo Association (WEPA), the format is similar to horse polo and uses the same size ball and longer sticks
- In Nepal, four elephant teams compete over two 10-minute chukkas on a pitch one-third the size of a horse polo pitch, about the size of a football pitch.
- In Thailand and Sri Lanka similar rules apply with the use of three elephants per side
- 'Mahouts' or drivers control elephants, whilst the players concentrate on wielding extra long polo sticks
- Professional polo players are handicapped in the same way as horse polo whilst seasoned elephant polo players also carry a one goal handicap
- Other rules include:
- Elephants are swapped at half time to even out any advantage
- No elephants may lie down in front of the goalmouth
- An elephant may not pick up the ball with its trunk during play
- Stepping on the ball is forbidden
Monday 27th November
|9.00||British Gurkhas (6) V National Parks (9)|
|10.00||Queen Victoria's Own (6) V Chopard (4)|
|11.00||Tigresses (3) V Angus Estates (6)|
|12.00||Tiger Tops Tuskers (10) V Chivas Regal (8)|
Tuesday 28th November
|9.00||Chopard (6) V Chivas Regal (15)|
|10.00||British Gurkhas (3) V Tigresses (3)|
|11.00||Tiger Tops Tuskers (10) V Queeen Victoria's Own (5)|
|12.00||National Parks (7) V Angus Estates (6)|
Wednesday 29th November
|9.00||British Gurkhas (5) V Angus Estates (9)|
|10.00||Tiger Tops Tuskers (9) V Chopard (6)|
|11.00||Tigresses (4) V National Parks (5)|
|12.00||Chivas Regal (11) V Queen Victoria's Own (5)|
Thursday 30th November
|9.00||Penalty shoot out|
|Tigresses (0) V British Gurkhas (3)|
|9.30||1st Chivas Regal Olympic Quaiche Semi Final|
|Chopard (4) V British Gurkhas (3)|
|10.30||1st WEPA Cup Semi Final|
|Tiger Tops Tuskers (6) V Angus Estates (8)|
|11.30||2nd Chivas Regal Olympic Quaiche Semi Final|
|Queen Victoria's Own (3) V Tigresses (2)|
|12.30||2nd WEPA Cup Semi Final|
|National Parks (14) V Chivas Regal (8)|
Friday 1st December
|9.00||Chivas Regal Olympic Quaiche3rd/4th Palyoff|
|Tigresses (4) V British Gurkhas (2)|
|10.00||WEPA Cup 3rd/4th Playoff|
|Chivas Regal (10) V Tiger Tops Tuskers (9)|
|11.30||Chivas Regal Olympic Quaiche Final|
|Chopard (2) V Queen Victoria's Own (7)|
|12.30||WEPA Cup Final|
|National Parks (6) V Angus Estates (8)|