Polo the sports of kings galloping towards Monte-Carlo

Second edition of Monte-Carlo Polo Cup announced for July 2014

In the posh ambiance of the salon Charles III at the Hotel de Paris, a smartly dressed Francesco Mitrano, President of the Monte-Carlo Polo Club (MCPC) met the press to announce the 2nd edition of the Monte-Carlo Polo Cup during July 3-6, 2014, under the renewed Patronage of HSH Prince Albert II. Mitrano was flanked by the General Secretary of the club Andre Turnsek and Lucile Matingau from the Monaco Tourism and Convention Bureau that fully supports this event. It is a Monegasque-French co-production as the matches will take place at the Stade Andre Vanco, sporting complex of Devens playing field in neighboring Beausoleil, just a few minutes from the center of the Principality, while several of the social events will take place in Monaco with the participation of dignitaries and celebrities. The identity of the sponsors have not been unveiled at this point in time.

After the successful debut tournament of the Monte-Carlo Diamond Cup early in August 2013 and the opening of its own Polo school in December of the same year, Francesco Mitrano who has the passion to see his dreams become a reality, is once again determined to put another great show. This year 6 teams have already confirmed their participation: UK, Argentina, Switzerland, Germany, USA and of course Monaco. That means there will be 4 players per team plus replacements and approximately 80 to 100 polo horses, an organization requiring precise logistical coordination. They will again play Paddock Polo using a smaller field measuring 160m long by 80m wide, with chukkas or periods of play inferior to 7 minutes, using a leather ball of 8,5cm diameter and 3 players in each team, with the advantage that they do not have to change horses during the match. The animals get less tired on a smaller terrain, while the rules remain the same as in the traditional game. The traditional playing field would require a terrain measuring 274m long by 174m wide, or the equivalent of three soccer fields, hard to find in the vicinity of Monaco.

Preliminary Program

Thursday, July 3

  • 19:30 – Presentation of players followed by a Welcome Cocktail

Friday, July 4

  • 12:30 – Parade of players on their horses in the Casino Square followed by Cocktail and Lunch on the Terrace of the Hotel de Paris
  • 17:30 – Polo matches in Devens
  • 19:00 – Polo matches in Devens
  • 21:00 – Dinners organized by teams’ sponsors

Saturday, July 5

  • 17:30 – Polo matches in Devens
  • 19:00 – Polo matches in Devens
  • 21:30 – Gala dinner at Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel

Sunday, July 6

  • 17:30 – Ladies’ Hats contest (theme to be unveiled)
  • 18:00 – Polo matches between the 3rd and 4th placed teams
  • 19:00 – Polo Final
  • 20:00 – Awards’ ceremony followed by a Closing Cocktail

The prizes will be an immense sculpture in bronze entitled “Pegasus” by Monaco resident Mateo Mornar and a special artwork by artist Marcos Marin.

Proceeds will benefit the Monegasque association Ecoute Cancer Reconfort

Logo ECRThe Monte-Carlo Polo Club believes in giving back to those in need, so proceeds of the Gala Dinner scheduled for Saturday, July 5 at the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel will again benefit the Monegasque association “Ecoute Cancer Reconfort”, created back in 1992 is currently presided by Adeline Garino and under the Honorary Presidence of H.S.H. Princess Stephanie. This association offers both psychological and financial support to patients and family. In addition to running a Wellness Center, organizing activities with patients, hospital visits and providing financial help to acquire medical equipment, and also organizes information sessions for the general public and fundraising events.

For more information visit http://www.ecoutecancerreconfort.org

The game of kings

A game that blends athletic talents between horse and rider is arguably the oldest recorded team sport in known history, with the first matches being played in Persia over 2500 years ago. It was quickly taken up as a training method for the King’s elite cavalry and the matches could resemble a battle with up to 100 men to a side. Polo was adopted as the most noble of pastimes by the Kings and Emperors, Shahs and Sultans, Khans and Caliphs of the ancient Persians, Arabs, Mughals, Mongols and Chinese, becoming known across the lands as “the game of kings”. British officers reinvented the game in 1862 after seeing an exhibition in Manipur, India and the sport was introduced in England in 1869, and years later imported to the United States. Polo was on several Olympic games programs but was last an Olympic sport in 1936, but when the games resumed after World War II in London in 1948, polo was absent and has been ever since. The Federation of International Polo (FIP) has been working for some years to persuade the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to reintroduce the sport, but it looks like the IOC is trying to reduce equine involvement, rather than increase it. Polo continues to represent the pinnacle of sport, and reaffirms the special bond between horse and rider.

The feeling of many players is very well represented by the famous verse inscribed on a stone tablet next to a polo ground in Gilgit, Pakistan: “Let others play at other things. The King of games is till the game of kings.” 

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