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Fri 6 Dec 2019 09:20 AM

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Saudi Arabia's Al Ula to host 'desert polo' tournament in January

The event - being held in cooperation with the Saudi Polo Federation - will take place on between January 16 and 18

Saudi Arabia's Al Ula to host 'desert polo' tournament in January

Saudi Arabia’s Al Ula will host a ‘desert polo’ tournament in January as part of the Winter at Tantora, officials have announced.

The event – being held in cooperation with the Saudi Polo Federation – will take place on between January 16 and 18.

Al Ula, a UNESCO world heritage site, will officially open to the public in October 2020. ‘

In a statement, organisers said that the event is inspired by the prestigious snow polo tournament held in Switzerland’s St. Moritz. It is one of the highlights of the three-month long Winter at Tantora Festival, which runs from December to March.

“This tournament is a celebration of the transformational journey that we are making in Saudi Arabia,” said Amr F Zedan, chairman of the Saudi Polo Federation. ““Our goal in promoting this extraordinary event is twofold. We want to tap into the undiscovered sporting talent that we know exists among young Saudi men and women and encourage greater levels of participation in our sport.”

“We are also proud to use sport, and polo in particular, as a vehicle to showcase a truly unique destination and an incredible overall experience to the world,” he added. “Saudi Arabia has the capability, the infrastructure and, crucially, the will, to stage major events on the world stage and Desert Polo is just one example of this.”

Amr AlMadani, the CEO of the Royal Commission for AlUla, said that the event’s location “sums up to the world the rich and as yet widely undiscovered culture within Saudi Arabia.”

“A major contributor to the heritage in this part of the world is our peoples’ connection to the horse. Therefore, it is symbolic that we are showcasing the progress of modern day Saudi Arabia here, in one of our most significant cultural sites,” he said.

The Winter at Tantora festival is offering a two special polo package for one to three days, featuring an ‘introduction to polo’ clinic.

It includes a 1-hour introduction clinic to Polo, with a maximum limit of 10-per-day on a first-come-first-serve basis.