EFG International Switzerland crowned Elephant Polo World Champions

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January 6, 2011

EFG International Switzerland crowned Elephant Polo World Champions with extra time victory over U.A.E. Sepoys.

EFG banked their first ever World Cup triumph with a nail-biting golden goal finish against the U.A.E Sepoys at the 29th W.E.P.A. World Championships hosted at the famous Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge, Nepal.

With the scores level at 5/5 at full time, the teams changed ends to play out a 5 minute extra time golden goal period, with Robert Mehm of EFG scoring the winner with a 30 yard forehand pile driver from outside the ‘D’ after just 30 seconds.

The Final was a ding dong affair, with the Sepoys taking an early 2 goal lead thanks to some fine finishing from their sure fire hitman ‘Jamie Seward’.

At times it all looked quite ominous for EFG with Seward on fire as they struggled to reduce the 2 goal deficit, however with Sangjay Choegyal in tenacious form they managed to go in to half time just the 1 goal down at 4-5 with the prospect of better elephants for the final chukka.

Half-time EFG optimism was rapidly snuffed out as Seward clocked up his hatrick shortly after the restart to maintain the comfort of a 2 goal cushion for the Sepoys with EFG becoming increasingly frustrated.

However, cometh the hour, cometh the man – and with Choegyal converting with just 3 mins left on the clock, EFG’s golden boy and king of private banking ‘Robert Mehm’ then pounced in the dying seconds of regulation time to let fly with a sensational 30 yard snapshot past Nigel Lea in goal – and the EFG Swiss Team were level with extra time and golden goal glory looming as described above.

The overall WEPA week was marked by a large number of outstanding individual and team achievements, which included a series of epic performances from Jamie Seward in addition to his award for the goal of the tournament (an end to end score from his own goal line).

Sangjay Choegyal won the EFG MVP award for rising to the challenge in what proved to be the crucial final chukkas in EFG’s semi-final encounter with Chivas Scotland and then in the Final vs the U.A.E. Sepoys.

Chivas Scotland beat National Parks in a tense 8/7 WEPA Bronze Medal play off – both teams having won their respective leagues but failing to convert their earlier ascendancy in to semi-final victories against EFG and the U.A.E. Sepoys respectively.

In the WEPA Quaich Final, Kristjan Edwards’ home team Tiger Tops Tuskers recorded a stirring victory over the British Gurkhas with veteran Margie McDougall leading from the front with a stirring solo performance following

The colourful Pukka Chukkas eventually found their rhythm when beating the plucky Afghaniphants team for the WEPA Quaich Bronze. Pukka’s captain Jason Wheeler was on flying form throughout the week and his team went on to win the much admired Best Dressed team award to add to their Quaich Bronze – as well as raising circa USD 7,500 in the process for charities in conjunction with their official launch of bicycle polo in Chitwan. The money raised will be divided equally between the Multiple Sclerosis Society UK and the ITNC (International Trust for Nature Conservation), a UK based charity that funds projects throughout the world, but with special focus on South Asia where conservation needs are great and communities are poor.   Money raised at WEPA 2010 will go towards the Long Term Tiger Monitoring Project, a long-term sustained research project to monitor the tiger population in western Chitwan through camera trapping. This has yielded unique ecological data on tiger population dynamics.

The Chivas ‘Live with Chivalry’ Award for most sporting performance was presented to Ram Pritt Yadav for his inspirational and gentlemanly conduct both on and off the pitch during the Championships.

At 71yo James Manclark (co-founder of WEPA) became the oldest player in the history of the sport to become a World Champion as part of the EFG Switzerland team, in the process picking up his 5th World Title on his 71st birthday (3 Dec).

However, the oldest team entering the event was Chivas Scotland with a combined age of 216 years including Col Raj Kalaan (70), Geoffrey Dobbs (57) and Chairman Peter Prentice (49). Under the circumstances they played a brilliant tournament in conjunction with their 2 secret female weapons in the guise of Samantha Prentice and Lucy Monro. Chivas also made history by becoming the first ever team to score all 4 penalties in their League B penalty shoot out victory against the Sepoys.

In addition to the Pukka Chukkas’ impressive fund raising work, the 9 strong squad of Afghaniphants from the Kabul ‘Hash’ came to play the tournament as a tribute to the late Karen Woo. In her last recorded SMS she wrote of her excitement about getting to Nepal to play in the WEPA World Championships, a dream which she was very sadly never able to realize.

To wrap up a week of first class polo the local crowd were treated to the All Nepal Challenge, a game played by the mahouts, who both control their elephant and play. This game generated the anticipated fast and colourful display of elephant polo and was watched by an excited and knowledgeable crowd. Tiger Tops used their teamwork and positional play to good effect but unfortunately could not make a clean break away and the game ended in a 1-1 draw with the National Parks team.
The World Elephant Polo Championship is an annual invitational event arranged by Tiger Tops Nepal and run under the auspices of the World Elephant Polo Association (WEPA). It is played on the polo field adjacent to Meghauly airport on the edge of Chitwan National Park. Each game consists of two 10 minute chukkas using elongated sticks often over two metres in length and a regular polo ball.

Scores:

Tiger Tops Wepa Cup Final

EFG Switzerland (6)

VS

Sepoys UAE (5)

Tiger Tops Wepa CUP 3rd/4th Playoff

Chivas Regal Scotland (8)

VS

National Parks (7)

Wepa Olympic Quaiche Final

Pukka Chukkas UK (5)

VS

Afghaniphants (1)

Semi Finals :

Tiger Tops WEPA Cup Semi Final (1)

EFG Switzerland (8)

VS

Chivas Regal Scotland (6)

Tiger Tops WEPA Cup Semi Final(2)

Sepoys UAE (8)

VS

National Park (5)

WEPA Olympic Quaiche Semi Final (1)

Tiger Tops Tuskers Iceland (6)

VS

Pukka Chukkas UK (4)

WEPA Olympic Quaiche Semi Final (2)

British Gurkhas Nepal (3)

VS

Afghaniphants (2)

League A

National Parks

2

2

2

6

First

EFG Switzerland

2

0

2

4

Second

British Gurkhas Nepal

0

2

0

2

Third

Pukka Chukkas

0

0

0

0

Fourth

League B

Chivas Regal Scotland

2

1

2

5

First

Sepoys UAE

2

1

2

5

Second

Tiger Tops Tuskers

0

2

0

2

Third

Afghaniphants

0

0

0

0

Fourth

Day 1 : Monday 29th November 2010

Pukkas Chukkas UK (3)

VS

EFG Switzerland (7)

Sepoys UAE (11)

VS

Afghaniphnats (2)

British Gurkhas Nepal (5)

VS

National Parks (10)

Tiger Tops Tuskers (7)

VS

Chivas Regal Scotland (11)

Day 2 : Tuesday 30th November 2010

Tiger Tops Tuskers (7)

VS

Afghaniphants (3)

EFG Switzerland (8)

VS

National Parks (12)

Chivas Regal Scotland (6)

VS

UAE Sepoys (6)

British Gurkhas Nepal (4)

VS

Pukkas Chukkas UK (2)

Day 3 : Wednesday 1st December 2010

Nationals Parks (10)

VS

Pukka Chukkas (5)

Tiger Tops Tuskers (3)

VS

Sepoys UAE (5)

British Gurkhas Nepal (5)

VS

EFG Switzerland (10)

Afghaniphants (3)

VS

Chivas Regal Scotland (9)

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