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.”