A polo match fit for an elephant

Before the Olympics wrap up on Feb. 28, it’s only fitting that we pause to admire athletes from every walk of life. Take, for example, the competitors in the 9th annual King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament (March 22-28) held at Thailand’s Anantara Golden Triangle Resort & Spa.

Apparently there’s actually a World Elephant Polo Association for the sport, which is prevalent in places such as Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.

Some rules from the association’s website:

  • Elephants are swapped at half time to balance out any advantage
  • No elephants may lie down in front of the goal
  • An elephant may not pick up the ball with its trunk during play
  • Stepping on the ball is prohibited

For the polo tournament, the Anantara Golden Triangle resort has put together a special spectator package. With nightly rates starting at $493 per room per night, you’ll get accommodations, breakfast, lunch, and transfers to and from the polo match. It’s not cheap, but this hotel isn’t exactly roughing it. Guests staying four nights or more will also receive a free round-trip transfer from Chiang Rai to the resort.

If going to Thailand for an elephant polo match this year isn’t likely, there are some options closer to home: New York City has bike polo and Barbados hosts a Segway polo championships this year. (Random trivia: Steve Wozniak of Apple fame is reportedly not only a fan but a masterful Segway polo player.)