Hong Kong China Crowned Champions of Fortune Heights Super Nations Cup 2013
TIANJIN, China, Oct. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The sport of polo made a triumphant return to its ancestral home of China today, as Hong Kong China defeated England 11 - 7 to clinch the Fortune Heights Super Nations Cup 2013. The quartet of Dirk Gould, Joao Ganon, John Paul Clarkin and John Fisher put in inspired performances to overcome an all-star England unit of Henry Fisher, brothers Mark and Luke Tomlinson and Nacho Gonzalez at the magnificent Tianjin Goldin Metropolitan Polo Club.
Dr. Richard Caleel, President of the Federation of International Polo (FIP), got the game underway, with the first chukka belonging to Hong Kong China, as goals from Joao Ganon and John Fisher saw them go in at the break 3 – 1 ahead.
Hong Kong China's John Paul Clarkin stunned England with a fantastic cut shot at the start of the second chukka, but Mark Tomlinson galloped on to a long pass from brother Luke to cut the deficit to 4 – 2.
Mark and Luke Tomlinson were not the only brothers on the field; a fascinating contest was unfolding between Hong Kong China's number four John Fisher facing off against his brother Henry Fisher at number one position in the England team.
It was end-to-end stuff at the close of the second chukka, but the scores remained at 4 – 2 as the teams retook the field to play out the first half. Joao Ganon continued his inspired performance for Hong Kong China with an early goal, and John Fisher added a backhand strike to finish off a brilliantly worked team goal. England aimed their frustrations at the umpires, incurring a needless penalty and leaving themselves with a lot to do in the second half, trailing by 2 goals to 7.
Hong Kong China's Dirk Gould converted a straightforward penalty in the fourth chukka, as England struggled to gain any momentum. Hopes of them reproducing the form that saw them fight back to overcome the USA in the first semi-final were sparked briefly when Luke Tomlinson scored at the beginning of the fifth chukka, but Hong Kong China's Dirk Gould finished off a strong charge from John Paul Clarkin to make it 9 goals to England's 3.
England kept pressing, Mark Tomlinson running the ball over the goal line to cut the deficit to 5 goals, but they were unlucky not to narrow the gap further as Hong Kong China's Dirk Gould saved a fiercely struck penalty.
England captain Luke Tomlinson led the charge valiantly in the final chukka, scoring a hat trick of goals, but a magnificent long range score at speed by John Paul Clarkin made it double figures for Hong Kong China, and Joao Ganon put the game well and truly beyond England's reach. With the scores 11 - 7 at the final bell, Hong Kong China left the field deserved winners of the Super Nations Cup trophy.
England, meanwhile, can take a lot of positives from their tournament, and will surely regroup and mount a stern challenge again next year for the Fortune Heights Super Nations Cup 2014. In the post-match press conference, Luke Tomlinson congratulated Hong Kong China. "The Hong Kong China boys played great, simple polo, and the ball ran their way. They were tough opposition and very strong in the middle."
The award for Most Valuable Player went to Hong Kong China's number three John Paul Clarkin, who performed magnificently throughout the tournament, helping his team to victory with three crucial goals in the final. "Winning MVP is just a bonus," admitted Clarkin. "The number one objective is for the team to win - my teammates must have been working hard to make me look a bit better! The horses performed excellently today too."
At the closing ceremony, Dr. Richard Caleel, president of the FIP, thanked the Chinese Equestrian Association as well as all the teams and supporting staff for their efforts, observing that, "the task has been accomplished of establishing China as a major player on the international polo scene."
Dr. Caleel then presented the glittering Super Nations Cup Trophy, commissioned by renowned British jewellers Asprey, to the victorious Hong Kong China team as coloured smoke erupted around the Tianjin Goldin Metropolitan Polo Club.
Victory will be especially sweet to Hong Kong China's John Fisher, who also serves as Director of Stable Operations at the Tianjin Goldin Metropolitan Polo Club. The ponies performed magnificently throughout the tournament, a credit to the hard work and commitment of Mr. Fisher and his team, working with Director of Polo Operations, Mr. Derek Reid. The award for best pony went to 'Roxy Chick', ridden by Hong Kong China, and was presented by Guest Of Honour, His Excellency Mr. Gustavo A. Martino, the Argentine Ambassador to China.
The Fortune Heights Super Nations Cup was one of four high profile polo tournaments staged at the Tianjin Goldin Metropolitan Polo Club in 2013. In an attempt to continue to bring more world-class polo tournaments to China, Mr. Luis Lalor, former President of the Argentine Polo Association, has recently joined the Goldin Group, at where he will be actively involved in all aspects of polo development. The Tianjin Goldin Metropolitan Polo Club is certain to benefit greatly from his experience and influence. "I'm very much looking forward to this new challenge," commented Mr. Lalor. "I hope to play my part in the growth of the sport here, to encourage more young people to take up polo, and to share its values with a wider audience in China."
The final results of the Fortune Heights Super Nations Cup 2013:
Information on Fortune Heights Super Nations Cup 2013
HONG KONG, CHINA
Partners of Fortune Heights Super Nations Cup 2013:
About Tianjin Goldin Metropolitan Polo Club
Apart from being the host venue of the 2012 and 2013 FIP Snow Polo World Cup, major international fixtures on the Club's annual calendar include various spring and autumn tournaments and matches for different levels of play from youth to professional.
Tianjin Goldin Metropolitan Polo Club was opened in November 2010 as the sporting and social flagship of "Goldin Metropolitan", a mega-development by Hong Kong-listed developer Goldin Properties Holdings Limited comprising three zones: a Central Business District, home to the 117-storey Goldin Finance 117; the 898,000 square metre (222-acre) Tianjin Goldin Metropolitan Polo Club and Fortune Heights, a low density luxury residence.
About Federation of International Polo (FIP)
The Federation of International Polo (FIP), founded in 1982, is the international body governing the sport of polo recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and includes 59 National Federations as full members. Polo has been played in the Olympics and is growing in popularity all over the world. Polo is a sport of horse and player. Men and women compete together in this contact sport as players are handicapped and games have a handicap range. While polo has primarily been played outdoors on a large green field, variations of the sport such as snow, beach and indoor polo are emerging and gaining popularity. FIP aims to develop rules for the safe conduct of the sport for both horse and player. Competition, sportsmanship and compliance with international rules of fair play are at the core of our sporting ethos.
SOURCE Tianjin Goldin Metropolitan Polo Club
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