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King's Cup Elephant Polo

Elephants and sports do not really go hand in hand in American culture, but on the other side of the World they sure do. Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Nepal are three distant countries that are hosting an annual King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament. Ever since the rules of Elephant Polo were first established in 1982, the game has slowly developed into one of the largest annual events in the Thai tourism calender.

What is it???

Polo is traditionally played with men riding horses and using a long stick, they try to hit a ball into the opposing team’s net to score a goal. Except during the King’s Cup, they ride elephants instead of horses. Here’s how it works:

  • One team has three elephants
  • Two people ride on each elephant
  • One person is the jockey, who controls the elephant
  • The other person is the player who plays the ball with a stick
  • Two teams square off against each other and go after the ball trying to hit it into the opposing team’s goal net. The game used to be played with a soccer ball, but that was quickly changed to a normal polo ball when it was realized that elephants like stomping and popping soccer balls!

    Lots of Love for Elephants

    The beauty of this sport is the love for this endangered species and all proceeds gained by the King’s Cup goes to help the elephants. Tourists from all over the World are now traveling to the King’s Cup held at a resort called the Anantara Golden Triangle and all proceeds go to the welfare and sustenance of the elephants. You can read about how the elephants are trained and cared for on this BLOG written by one of the trainers.

    The King’s Cup 2010 just finished it’s final matches and all the information and news can be seen on the website at http://www.anantaraelephantpolo.com/ . But the action has also been televised and posted on youtube.

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  • 1 Comment

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