Page last updated at 14:59 GMT, Tuesday, 8 April 2008 15:59 UK

Beach polo championships launched

Beach polo near Bridlington, Yorkshire
The organisers hope more people will become interested in the game

Two of England's top polo players have launched the first British beach polo championships on the Dorset coast.

Six teams of top international riders and horses will compete for the title during the two-day tournament in Sandbanks, Poole, on 11 and 12 July.

Beach polo events, a variation of arena polo, have only been held previously in Miami and Dubai.

Champions Roddy Williams and Peter Webb demonstrated the speed and agility needed to play the game on Tuesday.

This will be top professionals coming to show their skills off and introduce polo to more people and show it is not an elitist game
Peter Webb

Mr Webb said: "It's a new concept. This will be the first time they have played beach polo in England on this scale and at this level.

"This will be top professionals coming to show their skills off and introduce polo to more people and show it is not an elitist game.

"They are going to see fast, hard riding.

"It's going to be exhilarating polo probably never seen before at this level in the world."

A temporary arena will be erected, surrounded on three sides by seating and corporate hospitality facilities.

The council consulted the local residents' association before giving organisers Sandpolo the permission to use a small section of Sandbanks to build the 100m (330ft) by 50m (165ft) arena.

Beach users will be able to watch the action free from a viewing area on one side of the arena.

David Heaton-Ellis, of Sandpolo, said: "It's going to be the event of the year - gladiatorial action with a cutting atmosphere.

"You will be so close to the action you are almost riding the polo pony."




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