Thailand Polo Association Inaugurates The VS Trophy In Memory Of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha
The Thailand Polo Association inaugurates the VS Trophy in memory of the polo-loving pioneer Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. Vichai successfully developed and promoted Thai polo onto the international stage. Despite his renowned love for football, it was partaking in the sport of polo that made Vichai happiest.
Polo is different from football in that when I watch football, I get happiness from watching the players on the pitch. In polo, however, I am playing on the field myself, relying on myself, so the happiness comes within me.
— Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha
Vichai founded the Thailand Polo Association in 1998 and did so with the aim of entering the sport into the Southeast Asian Games. With a constant strive for excellence and an unwavering dedication to the sport, the polo enthusiast helped build the association to become the best polo organisation in the world.
Kanoksakdi Bhinsaeng, the president of the Thailand Polo Association, pledged to honour the memory of Vichai as a polo legend by hosting the inaugural Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Trophy. The competition was held between April 1 and 7 of 2019, welcoming both Thai and international players from around the globe. It was a great source of pride that many prominent players participated in the memorial event, including the son and daughter of His Majesty Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei, HRH Prince Abdul Mateen Bolkiah and HRH Princess Azemah Ni'matul Bolkiah, as well as HM the Sultan's brother HRH Jefri Bolkiah and his grandsons HH Prince Qawi Bolkiah and HH Prince Bahar Bolkiah. Malaysia’s royal family was also represented by the Crown Prince of Johor, HRH Tunku Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahim. The final match of the VS Trophy took place on April 7 at the VS Sports Club in Samut Prakarn province, in surroundings reminiscent of an English summer’s day.
The extravagant event opened with a music performance by the international award-winning Suanplu Chorus, a particular favourite of Vichai’s, followed by the Spirit equestrian acrobatic show. "Lydia" Sarunrat Deane and The Voice winner Kittinant Chinsamran paid tribute to Vichai with a duet. The crowd then enjoyed a premiere of the classical dressage show, ‘Liberty’, performed by Clemence Faivre and her Lusitano horse, Adagio—both flown in from France for the special performance.
The parade of The Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Trophy 2019 included special guests "Toon" Artiwara Kongmalai and "Koy" Rashwin Wongviriya, representing the young generation who have shared Vichai’s passion for helping and contributing to society. Kanoksakdi led the start of the final with a toss of the polo ball between VS Blue and VS Yellow teams. After the first two seven-minute “chukkas”, spectators were invited onto the field for a long-standing and important half-time tradition of divot stomping. After another eventful play, VS Blue came out on top, beating VS Yellow with a score of 8-6.
Prince Abdul Mateen Bolkiah then paid tribute to the late King Power chairman, for both his business and personal achievements in the polo world. On the occasion, HRH Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge also sent a representative, Andrew Tucker, to attend the event on his behalf, stressing that Vichai had established numerous projects that would be carried forward for perpetuity.
Aimon Srivaddhanaprabha, Vichai's wife and chairperson of King Power International Group presented prizes to all participating players. Kanoksakdi noted the uniqueness of the competition of his pride all players.
Lastly, the event featured an exhibition in honour of Vichai, including memorable photos and trophies from various polo tournaments, such as the first-prize trophy awarded at the Thailand Polo King's Cup, presented by His Majesty the late King Rama IX; the winner’s trophy from the Cartier Queen's Cup, awarded by HM Queen Elizabeth II; the winner’s trophy from the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup; and the bronze medal won in 2007 and silver medal won in 2017 at the South East Asian Games.
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