The Avis International Ladies Tournament is played annually in Johannesburg, the first of which was held on the 21st September 2003. The objective of the event is simply to provide a top quality polo event to raise the standard and profile of ladies polo in South Africa. This is important for a number of reasons and also because polo is the only sport in the world at which woman can compete at the same level as men. Polo’s unique handicapping system makes it possible for a women’s team to play a men’s team with total equality. The handicapping system is based purely on skill not gender. This level of equality in such a demanding and physical sport carries an important empowering message to the women of South Africa.
Before the International, there is a two day run up tournament, in which women players from all over the country participate. This tournament has contributed massively to the sudden growth we have seen in the number of women playing polo.
The event is a day that epitomizes fun, fashion, glamour and music. The polo match between England and Africa is the culmination of the entertainment that is put on for the day. There is also a very strong fundraising element to the event and a charity auction dinner is held at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Rosebank in the week leading up to the event.