For the first time in Zimbabwe history two rival sports are combining to create a weekend horse extravaganza. From the 23 to 25 August, members of the public will be able to watch some of the best players in the world battle it out on the Polo and Polo Cross fields.
Polo Vs Polo Cross
For many years, the debate has raged over which sport occupies the top spot within the horse sport category in Zimbabwe. Many an argument has been heard between polo and polo cross players. Both sports are extremely physical and involve a large amount of contact. Both involve humans riding horses and trying to score goals against an opposition but thereafter, there are very few similarities between the sports.
Polo Cross is played on a field 120m long and a heavy but bouncy ball is thrown from a net-like stick from player to player. A goal is scored when the ball is thrown through the opposition goals. Teams are made up of seven players who play in sections of three players and The Open is played over eight periods known as chukkas.
On the other hand, Polo is played on a 300m field, between teams of four players. A polo ball is a small hard ball made of wood and players hit the ball with a long mallet shaped stick from player to player. A goal is scored when the ball passes through the opposition’s goal. The Open is played over 5 periods also known as chukkas.
Bombay Sapphire Polo and Polo Cross Open
This year, rivalry has been put aside with Polo Cross Association of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Polo agreeing to hold their flagship events concurrently at the same venue. With four Polo Cross teams fighting it out for top honours within their sporting code and four Polo teams competing in their field there is bound to be a huge amount of excitement in the stands.
Tom Brown, the Zimbabwe Polo Chairman has described the Bombay Sapphire Polo Open as “a huge showcase of local and international horsemanship and skill.” With big name local players of the likes of Davie Meikle, John Campbell and Smart Kuusawa lining up against international stars such as South African Captain Gareth Evans, Michael Marlton and Terrance Spilsbury the event promises to deliver some astounding horsemanship.
All are invited to Thornpark, an easy jump from Harare a few kilometres out along the Mazowe Road. There’ll be a full bar and catering on offer throughout the weekend with monitored car-parking, jumping castles, a playground and loads of entertainment on offer from 9am onwards daily.