Beach Polo in Croatia

Rovinj, Croatia in 2016 will host the first Beach Polo Tournament in the region

Rovinj, Croatia in 2016 will host the first Beach Polo Tournament in the region

After the world-class regattas and the Red Bull Air Race, which attracted tens of thousands of visitors in the destination, Rovinj and Maistra will open the upcoming tourist season with a new attractive sports event. From 9th until 12th June 2016, Rovinj will host the first Beach Polo Tournament in the region.

After the polo events on the Brijuni islands ten years ago, the Polo Tournament in Rovinj is the first and only polo event held in this part of the world. “Our aim is to organise a Mediterranean polo league in cooperation with Viareggia in Italy and Ascona in Switzerland, famous tournaments on the Ibiza and Mallorca islands, and in Cairo. We also have an opportunity of cooperating with Dubai, which has expressed interest in joining the league. We are glad that we have found partners in the Town of Rovinj, the Tourist Board, and Maistra, which have recognised the significance of such an event. Without them, we would not be able to organise such an event”, said Uwe Zimmermann, the chairman of the Organising Committee of the Beach Polo Tournament.

The 70 x 40 metre arena, in which polo matches will be played in the tournament format on Saturday and Sunday, will be set up along the Porton Biondi in Rovinj, the northern coast in the vicinity of the old town centre. Four international teams will participate in the Tournament, with three players and 48 horses, or four horses for each player. Within the arena there will be a tent and grandstands with an offer of food and drinks, and an exhibition area for the sponsors of the Tournament – announced Hugo Baus of the Organising Committee. Besides the polo matches, there will be an additional programme for all Tournament participants at different locations in the town. “Apart from the opening of the Tournament, the most attractive moment will be the so called Polo Parade from EX TDR to the Adriatic Hotel in the centre of Rovinj, which will take place on Saturday, 11 June, at 11 a.m.”, added Hugo Baus.

This is a unique event that will surely contribute to the further affirmation of the destination, and of the Croatian tourist offer in entirety, stressed Tomislav Popović, member of the Management Board of Adris grop and president of the Management Board of Maistra. “With continuous investments in the development of our offer and investments that will reach the sum of HRK 4.4 billion (580 million Euro) by the end of 2017, Adris grupa and Maistra have laid down the foundations for the largest and most demanding sports and other events. Rovinj will again prove itself as a desirable and interesting destination as regards sports excellence, while Maistra will demonstrate its status as the leading tourist company in Croatia. During the four days of the event in Rovinj we are expecting a significant number of visitors from Croatia and abroad”, said Mr Popović.

Odete Sapač, the head of the Tourist Board of Rovinj, also confirmed that this event will be flawlessly executed: “I am sure that Maistra, the Town of Rovinj and the Tourist Board will again show their synergy in organising such a logistically and operationally demanding event, and that this Tournament will be one of the best-organised events in this year’s calendar of Beach Polo competitions”.

The Beach Polo Tournament was played for the first time in Dubai in 2004. Only a year later, it took over the beaches of Miami, and continued to grow by being played in Belgium, England, Wales, Chile, Ireland, Uruguay and other countries. Unlike traditional polo, in which two teams compete, each consisting of four players and their horses, a Beach Polo team includes only three players with horses. The game usually involves more manoeuvering and shorter passes at lower speeds due to the more constrained space inside the arena. The aim of the match is to score goals by sending a small air-filled leather ball between the goal posts of the opposing team using a long-handled mallet. The duration of one match is 30 minutes. It is divided into four periods called chukkas, each five minutes long. The Tournament in Rovinj will be played according to the Hurlingham rules.

The first edition of Beach Polo in Rovinj is strongly supported by the renowned Swiss watchmaker TagHeuer, the famous Argentinian brand La Martina, which is at the same time the ambassador of polo in the world, and Heineken, the third largest beer manufacturer in the world.