Pink Polo match to raise awareness of UAE’s 2nd largest killer of women

The Pink Polo match at Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club is back for a fourth year to raise awareness of breast cancer.

Polo exhibition match between Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (pink) and St Regis (white) during last year’s Pink Polo event to raise awareness about breast cancer. Pawan Singh / The National
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ABU DHABI // Thundering hooves, a glamorous sport and eye-catching colour will combine to raise awareness of breast cancer, the second biggest killer of women in the UAE.

The fourth annual Pink Polo match will take place on Friday November 8 at the Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club, it was announced on Tuesday.

The spectacle is held under the patronage of club chairman Sheikh Falah bin Zayed, who will be among the polo players taking part.

The match will see a team of professional players sponsored by Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) take on an opposing team sponsored by The St Regis Abu Dhabi.

Dr Jalaa Asaad Taher, manager of the non-communicable disease department at Health Authority-Abu Dhabi, said the event has received positive feedback from the community and government organisations.

“What I think makes it very special is the involvement of men,” she said on the sidelines of Tuesday’s announcement in the capital.

"They talk freely about breast cancer, so it's more transparent, and they can encourage other men also to support the cause.

“They can support their wives, their sisters, their colleagues, understanding the huge burden of breast cancer, the importance of screening and the importance of support during treatment.”

Breast cancer is the second-biggest killer of women after cardiovascular disease. Last year there were 54 deaths in Abu Dhabi, the youngest person being only 24. Half the women found to have breast cancer were between 49 and 54 years old.

A Pink Clinic will be set up at next month's polo event, to enable people to meet medical experts and breast cancer survivors, learn self-examination techniques and undergo free screenings at a mobile mammography unit.

There will also be plenty of fun activities for the family, with pony and camel rides, a falcon show, photo sessions with polo players, camel polo, a balloon release and a military skydive show.

Other attractions at the event, which is free to enter, include a hot-air balloon, face painting, henna, magic acts, balloon artists, football tricks, a barbecue and a live DJ.

All donations, along with 20 per cent of the proceeds from sales, will go to Pink Caravan, a campaign that aims to raise Dh15 million to continue outreach programmes, support breast cancer awareness and reinforce their support systems.

“We are very excited to host this event four years in a row,” said Saeed bin Houfan, the vice chairman of Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club.

“With the tremendous response it has achieved so far, we are positive that this will be a hallmark event that will place the UAE as a nation that cares and promotes worthy causes, bringing maximum awareness to its growing population and thereby setting an example for other nations to follow.”

Professional polo player Oscar Colombres has taken part every year.

The 37-year-old Argentine, who will play for ADCB, said: “What I like is that we are trying to raise awareness and money for a good reason. Everyone has in their family a woman. It can happen to your sister, to your mother or to your wife.

“The main idea is to make something fun for people watching. It’s to try to make an open game, which is easy to understand for everyone and have a beautiful day outside.

“I lost last year so I want to win this year. But the main idea is to have a good game for the people. It doesn’t matter who wins.”

Oliver Key, general manager of the St Regis Abu Dhabi, said the hotel was proud to be a part of the event to help raise awareness about breast cancer.

“As polo is an innate part of the St Regis legacy, this event gives us the opportunity to support an important cause and also provide our partners and guests with an exclusive polo experience,” he said.

Majdi Abd El Muhdi, the head of corporate communications at ADCB, said: “We are very happy with our continued involvement in this unique project, which uses a fun and family friendly sporting vehicle to raise awareness of a very serious issue.”

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