posted at 04:00
Author Name: Agence France Presse
Chinas Elites Are Now Playing Polo
AFP.Gripping his mallet, Peng Zhichun gallops towards goal on a Chinese polo field, one of a growing number of the country's wealthy elite discovering the joys of the saddle and the whip. "New clubs are opening, people are more into equestrian sports, into polo, there are more international players coming, so it's growing really fast," the young man, dressed in an expensive leather helmet, boots and white trousers, said after dismounting. At Beijing's Tango Polo Club members are "Select" and wealthy, says deputy chairman Chen Xie, and their numbers are growing steadily. "Polo is special. Members have to be rich enough to afford the membership. Courage is also needed as you can see, the sport is quite fast, intense and dangerous on the field," he told AFP. Club members have spent as much as three million yuan on a polo pony, and in one case 80 million yuan on a racehorse, Chen said - sums which are lifestyle expenses rather than investments. Chen also claims polo had its origins in Tang dynasty China before a British army officer imported it from India, although he acknowledges that "We all agree modern polo started from England." Most polo ponies are imported - with three-quarters of the animals at the Tango club coming from Argentina. AFP.People play polo on a field in the city of Dalian in China's Liaoning province on July 5, 2014.

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