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How Leighton Kings led hosts’ dominance of outstanding show

The GTB Lagos International Polo Tournament has always drawn the best players from across the world to the Ribadu Road, Ikoyi playground. It is a tournament every West African polo enthusiast wants to attend

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila (second Left) and Patron of Leighton Kings, Bowale Jolaosho, Lagos Polo President, Ayo Olashoju (left) and Mrs. Gbajabiamila during the presentation of the Independence Cup at the closing ceremony of the 2020 Lagos polo tournament in Ikoyi, Lagos… at the weekend.

The GTB Lagos International Polo Tournament has always drawn the best players from across the world to the Ribadu Road, Ikoyi playground. It is a tournament every West African polo enthusiast wants to attend at least once his lifetime. There are always drama, power, best horses, well-dressed fans and above all, daring displays.

And so it was at this year’s competition, which ended on Sunday, as usual on a
flourishing note.

The difference this term is that Lagos based teams swept all at stake at the glamorous fiesta.

The proud hosts that threw in more teams than other participating clubs dominated the two-week international event, with Leighton Kings team harvesting four major prizes to confirm their supremacy as Nigeria’s oldest polo club since 1904.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwoolu, his Deputy, Obafemi Hamzat, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, Kwara State Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, and M.D./CEO GTBank, Mr. Segun Agbaje led the roll call of dignitaries to  the grand finale of the tournament that featured an unprecedented 39 teams.

Leightons defeated Lintex/Agad 10-5 in the final game of the epoch Lagos polo festival decided in front of a surging crowd to win the event’s biggest prize, the Majekodunmi Cup. The cup added to the Independence Cup they had earlier won.

The Kings, boosting Bowale Jolaosho, Bello Buba, Raul Laplacette and Manuel Crespo, were truly at their best, having won the Oba of Lagos Cup, Open Cup, and Italian Ambassador’s Cup. Their quest for a quartet almost ran into the rough as Lintex/Agad, which paraded Sadiq Dantata, Bashir Dantata, Chris McKenzie and Thomas Lorente pushed them all the way in the first three chukkas of the epic finale, but succumbed to the horsepower of Leighton, who rallied to an easy win.

In the Low Cup final, the bright stars, Timi Badiru, Tomi Ojora, Yasin Amusan, and their British import, Dorian Bulteau provided the biggest upset of the tournament, surviving a late surge by more experienced STL for a 9 ½ – 8 to triumph.

The Governor’s Cup final that galloped off on the final day of the 2020 Lagos tourney on a blistering note, saw the resurgent Lagos RCF A+ coming from 1-4 down in the last chukka to win 5-4 against visiting Nasariya Furniture’s team from Kano.

“The Majek final was a nerve-wracking final, from start to finish, as our Lintex/Agad opponents pushed us all the way, but we wanted the cup more and our determination paid off with a deserving victory,” Jolaosho declared shortly after receiving the Majekodunmi Cup from the Lagos State Governor at a colourful presentation ceremony.

“I want to thank all our supporters, who stood by us all the way, my teammates and polo buffs across the country for joining us in celebrating this double victory on our very first attempt, a feat that we treasure so much,” he added with a smile.

Lagos Polo Club President, Ayo Olashoju, who described the tournament as one of the most successful in years, pointed out that the campaign for Majekodunmi Cup, Open Cup, Low Cup, and Silver Cup prizes were very competitive and the most exciting in years.

He thumbed up all the corporate sponsors for promoting polo in Lagos, noting that the relationship between Lagos polo and sponsors over the years has had a positive impact on the development of the game of kings.

Tournament Manager, Seyi Oyinlola promised that next year would get better, as it has always been over the years, adding, “it was two weeks of thrilling polo experience for the lovers of the game.”

Oyinlola declared that having gained a reputation as one of the biggest polo tournaments in Africa, the Lagos Polo Club looked forward to delivering great values for the sponsors, partners, and lovers of the king of games with the glamorous fiesta.