Thursday, April 28, 2011

Field conditions worrying polo team

The national polo team suffered their second straight defeat in the Malaysian Open Polo 2011 Championships but it is the field conditions at the Putrajaya Equestrian Park that is, cause for concern.

Captain Shaikh Reismann, is rather perturbed with the “poor field conditions” at the Putrajaya Equestrian Park - one of three venues for the Asian-Australasian-African Championships in June - which also serve as the Zone D Qualifier for this year’s FIP Polo World Cup 2011 which will be held in San Luis, Argentina from Oct 11-25.

“We may have lost both our opening matches in the Malaysian Open but I am really worried with the poorly maintained field at Putrajaya. As I said earlier, how we fare in the Malaysian Open is no yardstick to measure our capabilities,” said Shaikh.

On Thursday, the national team, playing under the 1 Malaysia banner, lost opening match to Royal Johor Polo Club 2 by a 6-9 score line. In the second match on Sunday, the Malaysians fell to Thai Polo by 6 ½ to 5.

“I just wonder how they are going to play the World Cup Qualifier on such a field which is poor maintained. It can cause serious injury to the players and horses alike. Our match against Thai Polo saw players falling off their horse.

“Four Thai Polo players fell off their horses, leaving them with neck and body injuries but under such conditions it can also happen to us. We certainly don’t want injuries to take place at this stage as we are into our final phase of training.”

Malaysia is vying for one of three tickets and create polo history. The top three finishers  in the Zone D Qualifier to be played at three venues – the Royal Pahang Polo Club in Pekan, the Putrajaya Equestrian Park in the administrative capital and the Royal Selangor Polo Club from June 11-26.

Apart from the Malaysian Open, the national team will also compete in the Terengganu Open scheduled to be held in Kuala Terengganu next month as part of its preparations for the World Cup Qualifier.

Malaysia is one of the top polo playing nations in Asia but has never qualified for the FIP Polo World Cup Finals. With home ground advantage, Malaysia hope to finish as one of the top three teams for a historic berth in the Finals.

“We had a very good match against the Thais. After losing to Royal Johor 2, we had very much wanted to win against the Thais but ended up losing in a closely fought match,” added Shaikh.

Shaikh is a three time winner of the Thai Polo Open and won the SEA Games gold medal in polo in Korat.
The other members of the national team are Huzaini Yunos, Amran Selamat, Muhammad Edham Shaharuddin, Saladin Mazlan and Tengku Ahmad Shazril.

I Malaysia have no matches today but will play Head Hunters of Singapore in their final match today.

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