More than 500 guests joined Cartier at the Ali Albwardy’s Desert Palm Resort and Polo Club in Dubai on December 12 for the conclusion of the 11th edition of the prestigious Cartier International Dubai Polo Challenge 2015. Held under the patronage of HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the final is a very haute sporting and social event in the region.
Laurent Gaborit, Managing Director of Cartier Middle East and India, and Neil Hobday, Chief Executive of Guards Polo Club were joined by socialite and model Bianca Brandolini in the Royal Box to watch the thrilling four-chukka match at this equestrian oasis in the heart of Dubai.
Four 8-goal teams took part in the tournament, with players coming from the UAE, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, England, Sweden, Argentina, and Spain. The Desert Palm team was awarded the impressive Cartier trophy after their 8-4 win over Habtoor Polo in the final.
Desert Palm players Tariq Almwardy and Rashid Al Habtoor received the trophy from Bianca Brandolini and Laurent Gaborit, with their teammate Matias Machado stepping forward for The Etiqueta Negra Most Valuable Player of the Tournament Award. The subsidiary final, which opened the play on the final day, saw a victory for the Zedan Polo team, winning over the Cartier Red team.
The Cartier International Dubai Polo Challenge is one of several prestigious international polo tournaments sponsored by the brand. Others include the Cartier Queen’s Cup at Guards Polo Club, Windsor Great Park, Berkshire, and the Cartier Polo World Cup on Snow at St. Moritz, Switzerland.
Did you know? Polo originated in Southern or Central Asia, most likely in Persia, approximately 2,000 years ago. From Persia, it went to the Indian Subcontinent and China, giving us the word “chukka” or “chakkar” in Hindi, from the Sanskrit “chakra” meaning wheel or circle, and the name “polo” from the Tibetan word “pulu” meaning ball. By the Middle Ages, the game had reached Constantinople and Japan. Modern polo was popularized by the British, with the first polo club established in India in 1833. British settlers later took the game to Argentina, and in 1876 James Gordon Bennet Jr organized the first polo match in the United States in NYC.