King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament
Date : 15 – 21 March 2010 Venue : Anantara Golden Triangle Resort, Chiang Rai
A blessing ceremony will be held before the opening match where monks sprinkle holy water over both players and animals to ensure a successful tournament. In addition, a parade of northern traditional-style dancers, hill-tribe villagers in traditional costume, elephant spirit men (Khru Ba Yai), colourfully decorated pachyderms and teams holding up their respective country flags will kick off the weeklong competition held on the banks of the Ruak River which divides Thailand from Burma.
During the first five years of the tournament, the event took place in the Royal seaside town of Hua Hin before moving to the native home of elephants in 2006 – the Golden Triangle. The tournament was introduced to Thailand in 2001 by Anantara Resorts and is a charitable event that raises money for the country’s National Elephant Institute in Lampang, northern Thailand.
In just seven years the King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament has gone from a small two-day event with six teams into a week-long extravaganza, which in 2009 featured 12 teams from four continents encompassing 40 players from at least 15 countries.
Through its own Elephant Camp located within the grounds of the Anantara Resort Golden Triangle, the property’s focus on the future of Thailand’s pachyderm population forms an integral part of the resort’s operations. On an ongoing basis, resident Elephant Camp Director, John Roberts, works closely with the Thai government’s Elephant Conservation Centre in Lampang to develop Anantara’s camp as an elephant sanctuary.
To date the tournament has raised over US$200,000 for the National Elephant Institute, which provides medical care, sustenance, employment, and mahout training to Thailand’s elephant population. In 2008 the funds were used to run the custom build ambulance that was donated at the opening ceremony of the most recent tournament. It is estimated that Thailand has around 2,500 domesticated elephants and 1,500 wild elephants. This is down from an elephant population of around 50,000 in 1950 and 100,000 in 1900.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) fully endorses the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament, having identified it as one of the country’s prime annual special events. It will take place in the grounds of Anantara Resort Golden Triangle, and spectator entrance is free.
For more information on King’s Cup Elephant Polo, please visit www.anantaraelephantpolo.com Anantara Resort Golden Triangle is located 60km north of Chiang Rai’s international airport. For enquiries and reservations, please call + 66 (0) 5378 4084 or + 66 (0) 2 477 0760 or email [email protected] For more information please visit www.anantara.com
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