Our Polo Luxury & Country Life Magazine has once again received an invitation to bring a team to the Beijing International Polo Open. We were happy to accept the invitation of our friend Xia Yang (President of the Sunny Times Polo Club), as we knew of his extraordinary qualities as a host from the past.
Since the Polo Luxury & Country Life Magazine has had a branch office in South Africa for almost two years now and we ourselves, as both publishers and owners, are members of the Polo Club Val de Vie, my husband Chris and I had no doubt that the team should be made up of players from Val de Vie.
As always in recent years, all the polo ponies ridden in the tournament have been made available to the teams by the Sunny Times Polo Club and its President Xia Yang. All ridden horses belong to the 4th generation of polo ponies bred in China.
Charl Du Plessis (+2), Johann du Plooy (3), George Morgan and Jan Albert Steenkamp (3) qualified for the final with a 9:4.5 opener against New Zealand and another win over Xia Yang’s team led by host China. During the final, the South African team once again met China and were considered as favourites due to the preliminary round encounters.
However, before playing for victory on the finals day in the most important Chinese polo event, spectators were impressed by the 60 polo mares and young horses from Xia Yang’s breeding line as they were allowed to run free on the polo field. The importance of the tournament was underscored with numerous speeches by high-ranking officials and the live broadcast of the final on Chinese state television.
In the finals, the South Africans did justice to their position as favourites. Right from the start, they put their opponents under pressure and had already caught up with the handicap in the second chukker. Time and again it was George Morgan who showed up in front of the opponent’s goal and scored 5 of the nine goals for his team. The South Africans won the final with 9:4.5 goals and George Morgan was named Most Valuable Player.
What impressed us most in addition to the exciting matches were the encounters with the country and its people, as well as the excellent social and sightseeing programme that the Chinese hosts have organized for the players.
South Africa/ Val de Vie Polo Club
Charl Du Plessis
Johann du Plooy
Jan Albert Steenkamp
Pablo Avellaneda Lanusse