Barbadians young and old are making their island prominent in blazing a trail to prominence. This time it is the island’s octogenarian Sir Charles Williams who is staking a claim.
The 82-year-old trumped all other contestants competing for the Elliot Williams Memorial Trophy at the Apes Hill Polo Club in St. James, Barbados and for his victory is now on the pages of the Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest active polo player.
The respected businessman, who has been highly regarded in his homeland as a titan of the construction industry, was presented an award recently and was lauded by Stephen Lashley, Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth. Lashley described the accomplishment of the British knight as a “triumph.”
“This is a great achievement for Sir Charles, for polo, and for Barbados,” he said. “This shows that age is no barrier to physical fitness and excelling in sports.It’s a fine example to our young people of what dedication and determination can do.”
Sir Williams scored the first goal early in the match which ended with a 2–1 score.
Playing alongside his two sons Stephen and Teddy and his grandson Oliver, the senior citizen demonstrated the skills of the horseback riding sport testing his mettle amongst some of the oldest active polo players.
Polo is no longer an Olympic sport, but according to Wikipedia, the modern game which originated in Central Asia — most likely Persia — lasts roughly two hours and is divided into periods called chukkas (occasionally rendered as “chukkers”).”
The game, acclaimed to be the “Sport of Kings” is played professionally in 16 countries.
The objective is to score goals against an opposing team. Players score by driving a small white plastic or wooden ball into the opposing team’s goal using a long-handled mallet. The traditional sport of polo is played at speed on a large grass field up to 300 yards long by 160 yards wide, and each polo team consists of four riders and their mounts.
Sir Williams was 82 years and 166 days when he championed the entry.
The previous holder of the “Oldest Polo Player” title was South African Harold Smith.
He was awarded the title in September 2004 at the age of 75.