▲ Photo courtesy Douglas MacDonald/Korea Polo Country Club
The 2nd International Polo Game was held at Korea Polo Country Club (KPCC) in Gujwa-eup, Jeju Island, May 25. KPCC is the only polo club in Korea and was founded by CEO Lee Joo-bae in 2005. The club was officially opened in 2010 and now has 220 members.
In polo there are 4 players per team and 4 to 8 periods, or chukkas. Each chukka is 7 minutes, long, with a maximum of 30 additional seconds played until play stops. Between each period there is a 3 to 5-minute rest when riders also change mounts.
Players from various nations flew into Jeju to play the game. Ross Ainsley (39) of New Zealand said, “This is my third time to Jeju. This place is amazing...I’ve never seen a club so easy to start playing polo.”
Despite the game being perceived as elitist, Ainsley said that even beginners can try out playing at the club.
“They cater for beginners better than anyone else. [CEO Lee] makes it so easy, so accessible, you know...You got horses, you got pros - it’s amazing. It’s a real credit to him, because it’s not easy...to get a polo club going,” said Ainsley.
Although it is an unusual career choice, Ainsley wanted to be a polo player from a young age. He says the variety of players is one one of the great things about the sport.
“This is an amazing thing about polo. In my team [in New Zealand] I had a ten year old boy, and we played the game against...a 76-year-old man in the other team. That’s Polo, you know.”
The game was played between an Asian and an American team, with the Asian team winning 16-10 in a dynamic and energetic game; Mr Ainsley scored several goals.
For further information, visit the KPCC website: http://www.korea poloclub.com/eng/main/
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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