Friday, February 18, 2011

Ticket to Argentina

Polo is an interesting sport to watch. I got the chance to cover a number of polo events in Kuala Lumpur not so long ago.

Significant to note the national team bagged the gold medal in the 2007 SEA Games in Korat. With three surviving members of the squad leading the team, Malaysia aim for a place in the FIP Polo Cup finals in October in the land that gave us Diego Maradona.

The FIP World Cup Zone D Qualifier will be played at three different venues – namely the Royal Pahang Polo Club in Pekan, the Putrajaya Equestrian Park in the administrative capital of Malaysia and the Royal Selangor Polo Club from June 11-26.

The countries competing in Zone D, apart from Malaysia, are Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, South Africa, Nigeria and Singapore. The top three will get the tickets for the FIP World Cup Finals in San Luis, Argentina from October 11-25. For the record the FIP World Cup is held every three years.

Malaysia team manager Ahmad Jamili Rashid rates Malaysia’s chances of making their first ever FIP World Cup Finals as “best ever” as the team has undergone training since last year.

“This included two-month training cum stint in Argentina from mid-September to mid-November. It was a dual mission, with training plus selection of horses. This stint served the Malaysian team well,” said Jamili.

The member Malaysian team is captained by 29-year-old Huzaini Yunos (+4 Handicap) who has played polo professionally since 1996. The others in the team are Shaik Reismann Ismail, 35 (+3 Handicap), Amran Selamat, 32 (+2 Handicap), Muhammad Edham Shaharuddin, 35 (+4 Handicap), Saladin Mazlan, 30 (+3 Handicap) and Tengku Ahmad Shazril Ezzani Tengku Sulaiman  (+3 Handicap).

Shaik Reismann is the only Malaysian player to have played in the FIP Polo World Cup in Jaipur, India in 2000 when he represented Singapore. The rules since then have been changed and only those who are born in the country are allowed to don their national colours. Saladin, grandson of former Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Harun Idris is also an established rally driver.

(L-R) Amran Selamat, Muhammad Edham Shaharuddin, Huzaini Yunos, Shaik Reismann Ismail, Saladin Mazlan, Tengku Ahmad Shazril Ezzani Tengku Sulaiman,

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