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Beach polo back in Dubai for 10th edition

Dubai: Rashid Al Habtoor is confident his Julius Baer team can successfully defend their title when the tenth edition of the Julius Baer Beach Polo Cup takes place this weekend.

Al Habtoor has been skipper of the title sponsor’s team for the past two years and had led the 7-5 defeat of Mohammad Al Habtoor’s Maradiva team in last year’s final.

And this year, with the younger Khalaf Al Habtoor and Argentinian professional Juan Cruz Guevara supporting him, the Julius Baer patron feels his team can replicate last year’s success at Skydive Dubai on Friday.

“It will be a tough competition this year as all four sides are evenly balanced,” Rashid Al Habtoor told media at Monday’s official press conference.

“This is a competition and we are always willing to go that extra yard to ensure we win this year and end the season on a high.”

The Julius Baer team will be challenged by teams representing Lindt, captained by Piero Dillier, Maradiva led by Saeed Bin Drai, and the Vista Jet Bombardier team of Mohammad Al Habtoor.

The tournament, which is supported by the Dubai Sports Council (DSC), will kick-off at 6pm, with the second match from 7.30pm. All matches will be held over four chukkers of six minutes each. Entry to the Majlis area will be by invitation but tickets priced at Dh50 per day are available for seating in the Shams area at www.platinumlist.com.

“We have at least 15 teams from across the world [wanting to take part], but we are not in a hurry to grow this tournament. We want to take small steps,” said Sam Katiela, the founder of beach polo in Dubai.

This year will be the first time matches at the event, which was founded and is organised by mamemo productions, will be held under floodlights. “Since we started beach polo in 2004 in Dubai, we now have more than 30 cities around the world playing. The big commitment and challenge now is to grow and we are making the right investments in the sport,” Katiela added.