On Friday 20 March 2015, some 400 VIP guests descended upon the beautiful newly instated polo field, for the inaugural Charity Polo Cup Vietnam. Guests were treated to an afternoon of sporting entertainment and exclusive hospitality as the two teams took to the newly instated field to battle it out for the coveted trophy.

Hosts, Thu Minh and Otto De Jager conceptualised to bring polo to Vietnam following their attendance at a Royal Charity Polo event in the United Kingdom in 2014. With the support of a portfolio of luxury partners, history was made in Vietnam as the Royal Pahang Team lifted the trophy, narrowly beating Viet Thai International Thai Polo, 10 – 9 to win the game.

The event was delighted to welcome honoured guest, Her Majesty the Queen’s eldest grandson, Peter Phillips, to Vietnam, to present The Charity Polo Cup prize giving ceremony. The Mercedes-Benz Best Playing Pony Award was given to “Macano”, owned by Dato Harald Link and played by Dato Mohamed Moiz. Meanwhile, the Vietnam Airlines Most Valuable Player Award was awarded to HH Prince Amir Nasser Ibrahim following his outstanding performance during the match. Drawing on initiatives from their global activation within the sport of polo, guests enjoyed the half time tread in when one lucky winner found the Royal Salute Coin strategically hidden in amongst the divots and received a bespoke bottle of 21 Gun Royal Salute Whiskey.

Whilst showcasing this sport to new audiences, with beautiful product displays from the Official Fashion & Apparel Partner, Ralph Lauren and a car display from Official Chauffeuring Partner, Mercedez-Benz, featuring the SLS AMG Couple, S600 Maybach and AMG GT S, guests were treated to a quintessentially British day of sporting action and hospitality before guests departed for the black tie Gala Dinner at Saigon’s only luxury six star hotel, The Reverie, Times Square, for the evening’s entertainment.

Guests were treated to performances from leading artists Dam Vinh Hung, Than Bui and Tran Manh Tuan alongside a delicious five course meal served by The Reverie, before the charity auction got underway.

With a series of luxury experiences on offer, such as Mercedes-Benz’s Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix package, a week on a super yacht, Amanoi Resort and Six Senses holidays and bespoke limited edition jewellery pieces from Celin Italy and Hoang Gia Pearl, the room raised a staggering pledged amount of $189,000 for the charities – Stop Ivory, Save Vietnam’s Wildlife and well known Vietnamese charity, The Business Association of Vietnam Veterans.

Thu Minh shared, “Everybody must be wondering why a singer like myself is organising a sporting event which is not considered to be my specialty? It started from a promise made to a certain Prince last year with his recommendation and heartfelt belief that I would accompany him on the long road of wildlife protection when I returned to Vietnam.

We took immediate action by going to appeal at schools and spread the awareness to the future generation of the country, composing songs and making video clips…to attract the attention of the community for my wildlife protection campaign. We felt it is now time to take specific actions, which are more powerful and result orientated. Therefore, my husband and I chose to bring Polo to Vietnam to attract the public’s attention and influential concerned people through their reputations and financial abilities. We fully appreciate the support that we have received from organisations in Vietnam and abroad on materials, sponsorship and auction items to make this event a success and create impact in our community to support the three charities. I am truly honored to be a patron of this cause as it showcases ‘Sympathy – Understanding – Together’ to protect the beautiful future for the next generations.”

As a Goodwill Ambassador for the Royal Foundation, Thu Minh is an avid supporter of an array of charities who work to protect and conserve wildlife and the world’s natural resources. Stop Ivory, a UK charity backed by some of the most well respected and committed individuals from the worlds of conservation and business were in turn nominated as the main beneficiary of the event (with 50% of all proceeds being donated towards their campaigning).

Stop Ivory are working in partnership with governments, NGOs, IGOs, the private sector and like-minded individuals, to take deliverable actions under a common policy umbrella (the Elephant Protection Initiative) to stop the killing, the trafficking and the demand for ivory. Their campaigns provide technical and financial assistance directly to African governments to realise a secure and stable future for elephant populations and people across Africa, where ivory inventories, stock management systems and development and implementation of national elephant action plans are underway.

Alex Rhodes, CEO of Stop Ivory commented, “Stop Ivory is honoured to have been chosen as a beneficiary for this landmark event. Our great thanks go to Otto de Jager and Thu Minh for their vision, creativity and commitment to addressing one of the most urgent conservation and development issues of our time: the illegal wildlife trade. Awareness amongst consumers worldwide about the plight facing this iconic species is equally important as well resourced, coordinated protection work in Africa. And Vietnam has a critical role to play in saying no to ivory. Buying dead ivory today risks losing the true living treasure – elephants – forever.”

Delighted with the successful outcome of this event, organisers, Polofix and District 360 have collaborated to bring this project to fruition and extend their warmest thanks to all supporting partners who have assisted to make this innovative concept a reality in just five months.
A special thank you must be offered to Mr Harald Link, owner of Thai Polo & Equestrian Club who generously sent a fleet of polo ponies over 1000km from Pattaya to Ho Chi Minh City for this inaugural event.

Mr. Michael Behrens, General Director of Mercedes-Benz Vietnam shared “The Charity Polo Cup Vietnam is the strongest proof for our company’s commitment in Vietnam as we nurture the lifestyle platform and we support the society and environment responsibility. Also, we position ourselves differently from other premium brands by going side by side with this Royal sport in Vietnam.”

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