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Anantara Golden Triangle Trumpets 2008 Elephant Polo Tournament with Celebrity Kick off Game
01 Aug 2007
Thailand's highly popular King's Cup Elephant Polo Tournament returns to the hills in 2008. Event organiser Anantara Resorts announced that the 2008 tournament would take place from March 31 to April 6 in the northern-most region of the country known as the Golden Triangle.
To officially launch the tournament, Anantara Resorts will host a kick-off match at the grounds of the ‘1st Infantry Regiment King's Own Bodyguard', in Vipavadi Rangsit, Bangkok on September 21, 2007. A fitting location for the King's Cup, the event is open to the public and an afternoon of celebrities, seasoned elephant polo players, colourful parades and pachyderms will provide a taste of the excitement to come!
Or one of the games founding fathers, Jim Edwards of ‘Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge' in Nepal puts it: "Elephants polo is like playing golf from the back of a slow - moving Range Rover." It should be pointed out that the World Wildlife Fund has declared that this sport poses no threat to the elephants participating in the games.
This popular event, ranked as the 6th largest event on the Thai tourism calendar was introduced to Thailand in 2001 and is a charitable event that raises money for the country's National Elephant Institute in Lampang, Northern Thailand. Hosting the event in the far North ensures that the international spotlight is focused onto a very unique and special part of Thailand, showcasing the beauty of the natural landscape of the Golden Triangle region - the natural home of elephants.
Through its own Elephant Camp located within the grounds of the Anantara Resort Golden Triangle, the property's focus on the future of Thailand's pachyderm population and forms an integral part of the resort's operations. On an on-going basis, resident Director of Elephants, John Roberts, works closely with the Thai government's Elephant Conservation Centre in Lampang to develop Anantara's camp as an elephant sanctuary. The funds raised from the 2006 tournament are being used to custom-build an elephant-sized ambulance which will be donated to the National Elephant Institute.
To date the tournament has raised over US$175,000 for the National Elephant Institute, which provides medical care, sustenance, employment, welfare and mahout training to Thailand's elephant population. It is estimated that Thailand has around 2500 domesticated elephants and 1500 wild elephants. This is down from an elephant population of around 50,000 in 1950 and 100,000 in 1900.
The 2006 tournament featured the return of Tom Claytor, a bush pilot who loves to play elephant polo, Margie McDougal, the most experienced female player in the world, Torquhil Ian Campbell, 13th Duke of Argyll, an experienced captain from ThisistheLife.com Scotland, All Blacks team headed by Justin Sampson (Sambo), Bernie Fraser, New Zealand's former world-ranking rugby player.
Anantara Resort Golden Triangle is located 60km north of Chiang Rai's international airport.
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