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BARBADOS - polo- Sir Charles Williams
Date January 22, 2006
by EZRA STUART
VETERAN POLO PLAYER and construction magnate Sir Charles Williams has a New Year's sporting wish.
"I want to see more Barbadians come and watch polo," he said last Sunday at the opening match of the Barbados International Polo tournament.
The match was between Stonefield Polo Club of South Africa and local boys Waterhall at Sir Charles' Waterhall Playing Field in St James.
"Obviously, I am absolutely overwhelmed with the phenomenal crowd," he added.
More than 500 spectators attended the opening of the tournament which is being contested for the Terra Caribbean Cup. Sir Charles said he wants to see an even bigger crowd this afternoon for the climax of the series.
Waterhall lead the series 2-0, but the South Africans, after getting familiar with the local horses and conditions, have shown improvement.
After losing the opener 12-15 1/2, they ran the hosts close before losing 4-4 1/2 on Tuesday, and will be looking for a consolation victory in the final game today at 4:15 p.m.
It will be preceded by a match between Coutts Bank and Virgin Atlantic.
Sir Charles also acknowledged the role being played by the sponsors such as Terra Caribbean, Virgin Atlantic, Coutts Bank, Cockspur, Deutz Champagne, Gatsby Boutiques, Coconut Car Rentals and Williams Tours Limited in making such tournaments possible.
"We are delighted to have sponsors. We couldn't exist without them. We need sponsorship to get it going. It costs money to keep horses and things like that," he said.
As a part of the opening ceremony, Coutts hosted a luncheon which attracted over 150 patrons but was, unfortunately, sold out two weeks before the event.
"It shows you that the high-wealth people - both Barbadians and foreigners - and not only them, will support polo.
"I want Barbadians to come to appreciate more what an exciting sport it is," said Sir Charles.
Referee Nicholas Scortichini of Argentina, who officiated in last Sunday's match, said he was very impressed with what he saw on and off the field.
"I think the match was quite good. Barbados played better, but that was because the South Africans needed to know the horses better. The Barbados players know the horses, but not the South Africans," Scortichini said.
"They are improving, and I think at the end of it, the matches will be much closer.
"In Argentina, it is much more professional; we play for prize money. But all around the world, it is just for fun because you like the polo," he said.
"The polo is growing and growing and it is going to be very good in the future."
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