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November 26, 2015

A Historic Opening for Sumbanese Polo with Unique British Polo Day

By Zahra Al-Kateb

A Sumbanese Warrior at White Party British Polo Day Sumba Island 2015. Photo Credit Keoma ZecOn Saturday 7th November, British Polo Day staged its inaugural Indonesian event and very first ‘Global Gathering’ at Nihiwatu, Sumba Island. Guests including Nihiwatu Managing Partner James McBride, Peter Prentice Royal Salute Ambassador and Chairman of the Keepers of the Quaich, George Kappaz Chairman and CEO of Astrata Group, philanthropist Gerry Smurfit, professional surfer Anastasia Ashley, top entertainment lawyer Kathy Kendrick, Philip Lord, international model Nikita Sachdev, Dave Burt, founder of @London on Instagram with 1.6m followers and local dignitaries came together for a sevenday celebration of tradition, craft and heritage on an island whose ancient tribal culture is – rather aptly – deeply rooted in ‘the horse’.

Commenting on British Polo Day Sumba Island, CEO Edward Olver said: “British Polo Day is known for producing exquisite events in extraordinary locations. This event here on Sumba Island at the unique Nihiwatu is right on the frontier of our global polo narrative. Arab traders brought the horse to this island in the 11th century and it is a huge pleasure to bring British Players and an extraordinary group of guests for this Global Gathering in which the lingua franca is the international language of the horse. We look forward to hosting many more British Polo Days here in this remarkable place and I know every member of this intrepid bunch of people will take pride in being a part of the first ever British Polo Day Sumba Island.”

British Polo Day Sumba Island 2015 7. Photo Credit Keoma ZecNihiwatu’s Managing Partner, James McBride added: “When Ed and I first discussed hosting British Polo Day at Nihiwatu, it seemed to be just a dream but we pursued it from there. Seeing a global event take place on the edge of wildness on Sumba Island has been a surreal experience establishing a global platform to share the hidden retreat with individuals who share the same philosophies. Integrating the global business-networking platform with the untouched island landscape, reiterates yet again that the horse is a language that transcends all barriers and unites all. The work we have been able to collaborate on with the Sumba Foundation has also been hugely beneficial. It was an honour and a pleasure for Chris Burch and myself, we look forward to the next British Polo Day Sumba Island.”

Truly ‘on the edge of wildness’ – and against a backdrop of unspoilt natural beauty – guests enjoyed quite the adventure: sunrise yoga and meditation, trail rides through traditional villages, hikes to The Blue Waterfall and the unique and incredibly spoiling Nihioka Spa Safari.

British Polo Day Sumba’s opening ‘White Party’, featured a bonfire night on Nihiwatu’s stunning 2.5km private beach and a cultural exchange with the Sumbanese warriors. Guests experienced and took part in ‘Pasola’, a thanks giving ceremony to the spirits from the people of Sumba Island. Celebrations culminated in an evening of fireworks and other Guy Fawkes festivities.

On Saturday 7th November, British Polo Day Sumba took place, with some highspirited frontier polo on the yellow shores of Nihiwatu. The first match of the day, saw the Hackett British Exiles take on home team, Nihiwatu I. The home team nobly defeated the British Exiles with a score of 3-0 with Bapak Herman of Sumba Island ensuring their victory with the first ever goal scored here on this island.

The Royal Salute’s Rest of the World team then took to the beach against RJI Capital’s Nihiwatu II in a closely fought and fast-paced game. Rest of the World won with a close score of 1- 0 taking them in to the finals. The deciding game was held between Nihiwatu I and The Royal Salute’s Rest of the World team, under pressure from the encroaching tide Nihiwatu took the competition with a score of 2-1 for The Pasola Plate.

Fresh from British Polo Day Singapore – and all vying for a spot on the British Polo Day prize-giving podium – top players Max Kirchhoff, Oliver Browne and resident host James McBride faced fierce Sumbanese competition. James McBride, as Captain, collected the superb bespoke-commissioned British Silverware Pasola Plate for Home Team Nihiwatu I. Bapak Anggy was awarded the Royal Salute ‘Most Valuable Player’ and James McBride the Holland & Holland ‘Shot of The Day’ presented by Gerry Smurfit and the Colonel Justinus, Regional Colonel of the Sumba Police.

As Sumba’s iconic ‘Sandalwood Ponies’ – introduced onto the island in the 16th Century – formed-up for the evening’s traditional races, guests enjoyed a spectacular Sumbanese sunset. Peter Prentice then led a traditional Royal Salute toast and introduced Rose Farquhar who sang a beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace. Guests then danced the night away in true Nihiwatu spirit at the after party at The Creek.

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British Polo Day Sumba Island took place from 3th to 10th November 2015 at Nihiwatu, Sumba Island.

The event was partnered with Land Rover, RJI Capital, Royal Salute, Hackett London, Harrods, Justerini & Brooks, Charles Russell Speechlys, Nihiwatu, Champagne Taittinger, Holland & Holland, British Silverware, Global Partnership Family Offices, Charles McDowell Properties, Brompton, Great British Racing International, Bonas MacFarlane Education,, The Sumba Foundation, Abercrombie & Kent, Taylor Morris Eyewear, D.R Harris & Co, Cassabo, Paul A Young Fine Chocolates, Floris, Jax Coco, South Kensington Club, The Grosvenor Stationery Company and 3rd Home.

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