Emboldened by the success of the Philippine Polo Open 2015, businessman-sportsman Mikee Romero is now pushing for the creation of a national polo association that will soon pave the way for the professionalism of one of the elite sports in the country.
“With the continued rise of polo in terms of popularity and acceptance, I think it’s high time that we form a national association so that we can bring the competition to the next level,” said Romero, who bankrolled the staging of the first 12-goal tournament in the country. “We need a national identity.”
Romero said there are group polo players but stressed there’s no national association that governs them.
That’s why the owner of the Globalport Batang Pier in the PBA plans to meet up known polo players and aficionados and persuade them that they create a working committee who will set the guidelines for the establishment of the association.
Romero noted that interest in the sport have intensified since professional players from Argentina, Australian and England started playing in the country three years ago – not to mention the continued participation of the traditional powers of Asia like China, Thailand and Brunei in the country’s premier tournament.
“We now have a slew of young players eager to play, and I heard that some kids in the South are also interested to take up the sport,” said Romero. “That’s why it is important now that we create a national association to sustain the growth of the sport.”
Before buying a PBA franchise three years ago, Romero was the president the shooting association. Before that, he also headed the national association of cycling.
“We have so many big-time players but we need to form a national group to have an identity,” added Romero,
Meanwhile, the pros and their guests in the recent PH Polo Open were so delighted with the first class hospitality showed by the hosts that they vowed to come back next year.
For one, Los Tamaraos English pro Max Charlton came to the country with his parents. He eventually emerged as the big star of the week-long event after scoring five goals in the team’s 8-7 win over Tang Polo of China in the one-game final.
Tang Polo patron ShiLai Liu, Kingpower’s Apichet Srivaddhanaprabha and Polo Escape’s Robin Lourvanijo were likewise impressed with the playing field in Calatagan and the crowd that watched the games both in Calatagan and Makati.