SIXTEEN TEAMS from around the world will be competing in the 2012 King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament, which runs from Sept. 12-16 at Hua Hin.
This year’s tournament will see the New Zealand All Black’s Robin Brooke, Olo Brown and Adrian Cashmore and European royals, Prince Carl-Eugen Oettingen-Wallerstein and his wife, Princess Anna, and daughter, Princess Joanna. Miss Tiffany Thailand will also be playing in the tournament for the first time.
The event, which has become one of the most popular in Thailand, will lead off with a parade through Hua Hin’s main streets, featuring Thailand’s last elephant spirit men (Kru Ba Yai) and tranditional dancers. Activities include a baby elephant camp and a fun fair.
International and local celebrities, including U.S. actor Isabelle Fuhrman, former Thai PM Aphisit Vejjajiva, super models Cindy Bishop, Lukkade Methinee and Australian Marie Claire’s Editor-in-Chief Jackie Frank have donated their artistic talents by painting a piece of “The Big Picture” elephant-themed painting, which will be on display throughout the event and auctioned off for charity at the final gala dinner.
The tournament was introduced to Thailand in 2001 by Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas and continues to support the event, which has grown to become one of the biggest charitable events in Thailand that has raised almost US$500,000 for projects that better the lives of Thailand’s elephant population.
These projects include: Mahout accommodation at the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre (TECC) and a mobile centrifuge for the TECC’s elephant mobile veterinary clinic; donating an elephant ambulance to the TECC; Thai Elephant Therapy Project, which initially provided 16 autistic children with a free clinic to develop their social interaction and emotional skills by using elephants as a working partner with occupational therapists; rescuing five elephants from Thailand’s city streets to participate in the world’s first ever Thai Elephant Therapy Project, in conjunction with Chiang Mai University Department of Occupational Therapy and the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre. Four of these five elephants now live at Anantara Golden Triangle’s Elephant Camp and have retired from active participation.
Funds raised from last year’s event have been donated in helping build the first elephant hospital in Krabi in the southern part of Thailand. A THB 500,000 gantry to help lame elephants stand has been donated to the TECC and 4,000 trees have also been planted in Hua Hin to shelter elephant corridors from electric fencing in the area.
The 11th King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament is held at Hua Hin’s Suriyothai Army Base, about 20 minutes from Anantara Hua Hin Resort and Spa.
For more information on King’s Cup Elephant Polo, visit www.anantaraelephantpolo.com.
Anantara Hua Hin Resort & Spa is a distinctive Thai village-style resort located on the sunrise coast of the Gulf of Thailand. Hidden amidst 14 acres of luxuriantly landscaped mature gardens and lagoon pools, the picturesque resort enjoys a beachfront location at the quiet end of Thailand’s historic royal seaside town. For more information please www.anantara.com.