Lahore : The two-week long five-chukker Bank Alfalah National Open Polo Championship for the Quaid-e-Azam Gold Cup 2021 rolled into action on Monday here at the historical Lahore Polo Club ground. “Top 10 teams, which are featuring in this 14-goal event, are BN, DS Polo/ASC, FG Polo, Newage/Rizvi’s and Risala in Pool A and Master Paints Black, Diamond Paints, Remounts, Barry’s and Master Paints in Pool B. All the teams have services of top national and international polo players, who will be showing their prowess during this prestigious tournament, and such a huge participation of foreign players presents a positive image of the country globally,” said Lahore Polo Club (LPC) President Omer Sadik, while addressing a press conference here on Monday. Other notables present on the occasion were Bank Alfalah Head Wealth Management & Liability Products Kabir Ahmed Qureshi, executive committee members Agha Murtaza Ali, Shah Qubilai Alam, Feroz Gulzar, Usman Haye, Saqib Khan Khakwani, Agha Najeeb Raza, LPC Secretary Lt Col (r) Mudassar Sharif and top national and foreign polo players. Omer Sadik thanked Bank Alfalah for sponsoring the prestigious polo tournament of Pakistan and hoped that they would continue to support this game of kings and knights. “The Lahore Polo Club welcomes Bank Alfalah as valuable patrons and champions of the game of kings. We share common values and goals with a shared commitment to Pakistan and its progress and redefining the narrative. The National Open 2021 promises to be riveting two-week polo activity with some of the world’s finest polo players competing for the greatest trophy of the high-goal season.” Revealing the history of National Polo Championship, the LPC president said: “The premier tournament of the country, The National Open Polo Championship, was first played at world famous Lahore Polo Club in 1963. Originally named as the EL Effendi Cup presented for this tournament by Brig. Hissam el Effendi was played in this name from 1963 to 1976. In 1977, it was named after the father of the nation and called the National open Polo Championship for the Quaid-e-Azam Gold Cup. “The tournament has been played for 57 years now and over the years this tournament has gained immense popularity all over the polo community domestically and internationally and attracts professional players and umpires from abroad and spectators domestically and from the diplomatic community in Pakistan,” he added. 
In a statement, Atif Bajwa, President & CEO Bank Alfalah, said: “We have been keen to support the growth of sports, art, and culture in the country, and it is an honor for us to be rejuvenating interest in the king of sports as well. Such events are a great way to showcase local talent to the world; having international players on the teams also testifies to the quality of the playing field. We look forward to a healthy and spirited competition.”
On the opening day, three matches were played. The first match of the day saw Newage/Rizvi’s recording a thumping 12-5 victories. The second match of the day proved to be a thrilling encounter, where Barry’s and Master Paints were tied at 9-all at the end of the fourth chukker and Barry’s smashed in match-winning goal to win the match by 10-9. The closely-contested third match saw BN Polo Team beating FG Polo by 9-7. Tomorrow (Tuesday), three more matches will be contested.

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