The Royal Malaysian Polo Association has come out with an exciting calendar of polo tournaments for the 2013 season. Twelve tournaments are planned in Malaysia, including nine league tournaments, the popular Malaysian Ladies Polo Championships and a new Children’s Tournament.
Handicap ranges have been adjusted for the International and National Leagues. The International League goes up by a goal to 13 to 15 goals, and will feature four tournaments: The Thai Open, RMPA Masters, Royal Pahang Classic, and the RMPA International League Final.
Tournament finals will be played over five chukkas in the International League.
The season starts in Thailand with many tournaments being played at the Thai Polo & Equestrian Club in Pattaya. The highlights of the Thai season are the 20-goal challenge and the Thai Polo Open, which will be played in January.
The Malaysian season will start in March with a revamped RMPA National League that will be played as a single division of 5 to 7 goals. Teams will be able to play with 5-goal professionals but all teams must play with at least one patron or amateur on the field at all times.
The Merdeka League remains the same at 0 to 2 goals. The winning team of the RMPA Merdeka League will be given an entry to a tournament at the Thai Polo & Equestrian Club the next season. It is the first time that such a sponsorship has been received for the Merdeka League.
The RMPA has also rescinded the exemption for zero handicapped professionals, and teams will have to find true amateurs to fulfil their quota of two amateurs per Merdeka League team. Minus 1 and minus 2 goal professionals will be given exemptions that are reviewed annually. It is a move intended to make patrons less reliant on professionals, and to encourage their own development.
Two other general changes were made by the RMPA committee. Firstly, there will be no more half chukka break. Players wishing to change horses will have to do it on their own time. Secondly, the use of elbow guards has been made optional.
RMPA has published the new handicap changes in advance of the 2013 season.
To download the RMPA Polo Calendar 2012-2013, please click here.