Kathmandu, Nepal

13th December, 1997

For immediate release

The torrential storms during the 16th World Elephant Polo Championships held at Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge from 7th to 13th December may have left a lasting effect on the sport. After two days of heavy rains the field was so water-logged at one end that the Championships had to be completed on a shortened field with three elephants per team rather than the normal four. This new arrangement produced some of the most exciting elephant polo ever played as the games were faster and more open. It was therefore agreed that the shorter field be used in the future. A perfect example of this new game was observed during the finals when Tiger Mountain India, captained by Jim Edwards, beat the local National Park team 10 - 8 to win the coveted Tiger Tops Trophy. Tiger Tops followed this up with a magnificent win, the first in 5 years, over the National Parks 3 - 2 in the Tiger Mountain All Nepal Challenge which is played by mahouts on their own elephants.

This was the culmination of a fascinating weeks' polo which resulted in the host team Tiger Tops Tuskers, captained by Kristjan Edwards, securing 3rd place after losing to Tiger Mountain India in the semi final. That semi final was particularly exciting as it was the first time that Jim Edwards, founder of WEPA and Chairman of the Tiger Mountain Group had played against his son Kristjan. Chivas Regal, a new team from the UK finished in fourth place after losing their semi final to National Parks in a very close match which was decided in sudden death, 5 - 4. British Gurkha Gladiators took 5th position but were also awarded the Best Dressed Trophy for their smart red, black and green checkered polo shirts. Tiger Tops Tigresses came in 6th with 7th place going to the much improved Screwy Tuskers team, captained by Alf Erickson from Miami, USA. 8th place went to the American Braves a new team from San Francisco. The Tuborg Trophy for Player of the Year was awarded to Margie McDougal, captain of the Tiger Tops Tigresses, who had an incredible tournament. She also earned the Chivas Regal Golden Moment Award for being the first ever player to score seven goals in seven minutes.

The World Elephant Polo Association Championships is an annual invitational event arranged by Tiger Tops. It is played on the polo field adjacent to Meghauly airport on the edge of Royal Chitwan National Park. Each game consists of two chukkas of ten minutes playing time using elongated sticks over two metres in length and a regular polo ball. The matches were well controlled as usual by the referee Chuck McDougal and umpire Pradeep Rana. The World Championships attracted the international media including coverage by Trans World Sports and journalists from British Airways Highlife Magazine and the Wall Street Journal. The event was honoured to have General and Rani Nara SJB Rana, Miss Nepal Jharna Bajracharya, Mrs Mary O'Dwyer from the UK polo world and Steven Seagal the US film star to present the trophies and awards at the prize giving ceremony.

For further details please contact Carolyn Syangbo:

Story and photos Copyright 1997 Tiger Mountain - All rights reserved

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