International Friday returns to the heart of London as Chestertons Polo in the Park has announced Team England will take on Team India in the hotly anticipated international crunch match taking place on Friday 9 June 2017.
The 2016 showdown between Team South Africa and Team England proved to be a great success; attendance records were broken with spectators from across London flocking to the prestigious Hurlingham turf to witness world-class polo in their capital city.
This year’s edition welcomes Team India who are returning to the historic Hurlingham Park for the first time in over 70 years. The Indian Team will be led by HH Maharaja Padmanabh Singh (2), who belongs to the Royal family of Jaipur. He follows a bloodline of top international polo players including his Grand-Father, the late Maharaja Sawai Man Singhji Bahadur, who was a close polo-playing friend of Prince Charles. Joining HH in the team will be Shamsher Ali Khan (6), India’s highest rated polo player and Samir Suhag (2).
India and England share strong polo heritage links, as the modern game of polo is derived from Manipur, India, and was brought to from India to the UK by British Soldiers in the 19th Century. Shortly afterwards the governing body in the United Kingdom, the Hurlingham Polo Association, was formed and the first formal British rules were drawn up, many of which still exist today.
Managing Director of Sportgate International, Rory Heron said: “India and England share a great deal of polo heritage and were instrumental in the growth of the sport around the world so to have both international teams at our event is a real privilege.
We are really looking forward to welcoming HH Maharaja Sawai Padmanabh Singh and his team to Chestertons Polo in the Park in what promises to be thrilling match against England”
HH Maharaja Padmanabh Singh commented on competing at the event for the first time: “I am eagerly anticipating my debut at Chesterton’s Polo in the Park this coming June, especially because I'm representing my country for the first time abroad and what better way to do so than in front of such a huge and enthusiastic audience in London’s Hurlingham Park.
It is a very special occasion for me personally as my family has had a long association with polo in the U.K. My Grandfather led the last great Indian polo team to many victories, winning every major trophy in the UK during the 1940s and 50s. It has been many years since an Indian National polo team played in a Test match against an England team on UK soil, and so I am honoured to be participating in this much awaited and historic match.”
The International match is set to make history and will heat up the three-day event which has firmly established itself as one of the most anticipated and sought after summer social events. The rules have been simplified so that spectators will be able to follow the fast and furious polo without needing any prior knowledge of the game and enjoy the fiercely competitive sport.
The International match takes place on the Friday evening and is the perfect way to kick start the weekend. The pitch side entertainment ensures that spectators are treated to a day of non-stop action both on and off the field. An array of exclusive bars, including the renowned Mahiki Bar, Champagne Lanson Garden Bar and Fever Tree Bar & Garden provide quintessential locations to enjoy world class polo and music whilst sipping a thirst-quenching cocktail. For those with withdrawal symptoms from the Kings Road, there is an onsite shopping village selling unique luxury items. For those wanting a bite to eat the Grazing Paddock, polo’s greatest pop-up food festival, will return bigger and even tastier in 2017.