Swiss bank hat-trick triumph
EFG’s star striker Sangjay Choegyal delivered top form when it mattered to secure a third world title for EFG Switzerland in the 32nd World Elephant Polo Championships today.
Photo: Sangjay Choegyal on his way to many goals and a third world title.
The pivot of James Manclark’s squad, Sangjay played consistently well throughout the five-day tournament in Nepal and, as well as a third world title, rides away today as a well deserved winner of the EFG Most Valuable Player award. The final was, as all EFG’s matches had been, extremely close. The squad had reached the finals with a one-goal triumph over the tenacious Tigresses Polo and they claimed the world title by an only slightly greater margin.
Led on the field by Peter Prentice, chairman of the World Elephant Polo Association, the Ceylon Elephant Polo Association put up a strong fight. Holding EFG to a 5-5 draw at half-time CEPA put up sterling defence, but Sangjay’s skill, combined with the tenacity of Equestrio Best Playing Elephant Sandra Kali in the first half and last year’s BPE Saraswati Kali in the second half, held CEPA goalless throughout meaning that at full-time they had nothing more than their handicap advantage on the scoreboard and EFG rode out winners for a third time at 7-5.
Earlier in the day the Pukka Chukkas defeated the Rusty Kukris in the final of the Olympic Quaiche 6-3. Anticipated as likely to be the thriller of the tournament the encounter more than lived up to expectations with the final score of 6-3 not reflecting the closeness of the pitched battle between two very well matched teams.
The Pukka Chukkas were contesting their sixth WEPA tournament. Runners-up in the Quaiche in 2008 they had not reached a final since so the win was long-awaited and much celebrated by Jason Wheeler’s squad.
In the world cup bronze play-off last year’s silver medallists, Tigresses Polo, roared to an 8-5 triumph over the Tiger Tops Tuskers and in the day’s opener the Polar Bears beat The Africans to take Quaiche bronze.
Seven year old Sandra Kali and her mahout Naveen Mohato, who played himself in a world-title winning squad in 2008, won the Equestrio Best Playing Elephant award.