September 12, 2005

Scottish Team Wins Elephant Polo Match

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) - Straddled atop hulking pachyderms and wielding long mallets, the Chivas Regal Scotland team clinched their second King's Cup Elephant Polo title Sunday after scoring a golden goal in overtime to beat Thailand's Mullis Capital, 6-5.

Some 1,500 spectators came to watch the fifth annual charity game to raise money for Thailand's National Elephant Institute in Lampang, northern Thailand. The tournament was held near Hua Hin, 80 miles southwest of Bangkok.

The game is played on a field 330 feet by 200 feet, roughly one-third the size of a horse polo field. A game has two seven-minute halves - known as chukkas - with a 15-minute interval. Three elephants form a team.

Chivas Regal, which won the 2004 tournament, was tied with Mullis Capital after the second chukka and scored the winning goal after two minutes of overtime, said Wanida Khunthipmark, a spokeswoman for the event.

Players from both teams were experienced elephant or horse polo players, Wanida said.

The rules of the game were drafted by the World Elephant Polo Association, which was set up in 1982 to stage annual games in Nepal. Since then, elephant polo tournaments have also been played in Sri Lanka.

Thailand joined the ranks by hosting the inaugural King's Cup tournament in 2001 to raise money for conservation of its 1,500 wild and 2,500 domesticated elephants.


On the Net:

Thailand Elephant Polo Association: http://www.thaielepolo.com