Amaala lift champion trophy in Saudi Arabia’s first-ever desert polo tournament

Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki bin Faisal presents the champion trophy to the Nacho Figueras-led Amaala polo team. (Photo/Supplied)
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Updated 19 January 2020

Amaala lift champion trophy in Saudi Arabia’s first-ever desert polo tournament

  • Amaala earned the bragging rights as the 2020, and inaugural, AlUla Desert Polo champions

JEDDAH: Renowned Argentine polo player Nacho Figueras scored all his side’s goals as Amaala hammered out an emphatic 7-3 victory over host team AlUla to win the Kingdom’s first-ever desert polo tournament on Saturday at AlUla UNESCO heritage site.

Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki bin Faisal, chairman of the General Sports Authority, presented the trophy to Amaala after the final.

The event forms part of Winter at Tantora festival, featuring international polo players, who had the experience of playing on compacted desert sand instead of grass amid the stunning surroundings at AlUla.

The Royal Commission of AlUla organized the three-day tournament in cooperation with the newly formed Saudi Polo Federation.

In winning the tournament, Amaala earned the bragging rights as the 2020, and inaugural, AlUla Desert Polo champions.

Players from all over the world took part, including team members from the world famous La Dolfina polo outfit from Argentina, including Adolfo Cambiaso, Pelon Stirling and Pablo Mac Donough.

In the match for third place, Al Nahla Bentley defeated Team Richard Mille 4-2 with Sheikha Alya Maktoum scoring a hat trick of goals.

Figueras said: “It’s an amazing place with an amazing history, an amazing heritage and an amazing first tournament for the Saudi Polo Federation. I’m very honored to be here and I’m delighted that we were able to win.

“This country is going through a transformation and there are amazing years to come.”

Mac Donough added: “For us it was a completely new place; polo-wise Saudi Arabia wasn’t something we were doing before. Having the chance to come to such an amazing country and having the chance to play a tournament and promote the sport, all this makes us feel very proud and we hope we can continue it.”

Saudi Polo Federation chairman, Amr F. Zedan, who played for Team Richard Mille during the tournament, said: “I see this event as a launching pad for the future. We have big plans for polo in Saudi Arabia that include the establishment of development programs and the construction of facilities to assist in building a polo infrastructure in The Kingdom.”

Amr Madani, CEO of the Royal Commission of AlUla, said: “Our tourism strategy for AlUla has been built around certain anchors — heritage, culture, nature and arts. Equestrianism has always been a key industry for us, and the surroundings here make AlUla one of the best locations to ride horses.”


Woods-Michelson rematch to add Brady, Manning in the works

Updated 03 April 2020

Woods-Michelson rematch to add Brady, Manning in the works

TORONTO: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will play a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) relief golf match next month with Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, CNBC reported on Wednesday.

The report, which sourced an unnamed person familiar with the negotiations, said the charity match would be held at an undisclosed location without fans and is being organized by the PGA Tour and AT&T’s WarnerMedia.

The negotiations are still being finalized but the match pitting 15-times major champion Woods and Manning against five-times major winner Mickelson and Brady could be aired on live TV and is unlikely to be featured on pay-per-view, the report said.

“Discussions along these lines have been ongoing for quite some time, but nothing has been approved by the tour,” the PGA Tour said in a statement.

A matchup featuring two of the most famous golfers of their era and two of the all-time greatest NFL quarterbacks would be a rare sporting event during the coronavirus pandemic which has brought the sporting world to a halt.

The event will feature a small production crew to film it and each individual will obey the social-distancing recommendations to stay six-feet apart, the report said.

Mickelson was asked recently on Twitter about the chances of a round of golf against Woods being live streamed in the near future, and the American replied: “Working on it.” 

When another fan tweeted to Mickelson asking him not to “tease,” the 49-year-old responded: “I don’t tease. I’m kinda a sure thing.” 

Woods, 44, last competed in mid-February and then withdrew from a number of tournaments with a back injury before the PGA Tour decided to cancel a slew of events because of the coronavirus.

Mickelson finished third in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in early February and missed the cut in his next two starts.

Woods and Mickelson played each other in a winner-take-all $9 million match-play exhibition in November 2018 that was golf’s first venture into pay-per-view.

That event was hyped like a Las Vegas prize fight but proved more of a pillow fight with both golfers in jovial mood, playing for a purse that was put up by sponsors and went to a charity of Mickelson’s choice.

Brady recently joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after 20 years with the New England Patriots during which he won an NFL-record six Super Bowl titles.

Manning, who played for the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos, retired in 2016 as the NFL’s all-time leader in passing touchdowns and yards and is the only five-times winner of the league’s Most Valuable Player award.