EXPECT polo matches in next year’s SEA Games to get a fair share of attention as the scions of the rich and powerful are eager to showcase their flair in pursuit of sporting glory.
First to confirm their participation are the royalties of Brunei, who are determined to improve on their bronze medal showing two years Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The participation of the tiny but super rich nation was relayed to United Polo Players Association UPPA Chairman Emeritus and Rep. Mikee Romero (1 Pacman Party-List) during the 72nd birthday of Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah last week, an event highlighted by a myriad of activities, including a polo tournament.
Princess Azemah Ni’matul Bolkiah and Prince Abdul Mateen will banner the powerful cast that is training in earnest under some of the world’s finest European coaches.
“We at the UPPA are elated that Brunei confirmed its participation this early,” said Romero, who is also thankful to the support of Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee head Sec. Alan Cayetano and Philippine Olympic Committee officials led by its President Ricky Vargas and Chairman Rep. Bambol Tolentino.
Also expected to see action for Brunei are Prince Muda Bahar Bolkiah and Prince Abdul Qawi Bolkiah.
UPPA is headed by Coco Garcia, son of former Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richie Garcia, with Hollywood film producer Jun Juban as chairman.
The presence of these royalties, UPPA said, is not only an honor but also a challenge as the nation tries once again to charm neighboring countries with its time-tested hospitality and efficiency in staging a multi-sports event of this magnitude.
Aside from the host country, Thailand is also a big threat to Malaysia’s title-retention bid.
Romero said the wealthy clan of Srivaddhanaprabha -- Aiyawatt andApichet – will spearhead Thailand’s bid, while Malaysia will be led byAbdul Rashid Hasnan, Amran Selamat, Khairy Jamaluddin and Mohd Zulhelmi Nadzar.
The association sees no problem with the handling of security for these VIPs since it intends to coordinate with various government agencies.
“We are readying all safety measures not only for the athletes and officials but also for our guests,” said Romero. “We will make this SEA Games an event to remember.”