One of polo’s most influential voices, Glen Gilmore, believes the answer to England lagging behind other competing nations in polo could be solved by a mentoring and academy system using current England senior players to oversee the development of the very youngest players in the country.
That would mean even as young as five years old, insisted Gilmore, who has witnessed very young Argentine players mixing with the best senior players. He believes it sets the polo-playing mindset and tactical nous early on.
Gilmore, Australia’s polo captain and the departing polo manager at Guards after two years in the role at Windsor Great Park, told Telegraph Sport: “The one thing I would do to really improve things if I were overseeing English polo would be with junior polo.
“I did when my son was coming through at the Pony Club – and it was that I made sure that all of the kids were given the best education they could get from 5 years old onwards. From five to 15 is the time for the best learning curve. That’s when they will learn the most.
“Getting kids as 18 and 19 year olds to learn, they will get better in the sport, but you need them to have ridden, and done all that stuff by then.”
Gilmore’s radical plan would be for England’s senior players – and he suggested that even the younger “I would like to see Mark, Luke (the Tomlinson brothers), Borwick, Beimy (James Beim, the incumbent England captain), take two or three of the best young kids under their wings and coach them, mentor them and play with them.
“Then those kids would end up thinking and playing like 7 goal players by the time they are 10 or 12.”
“The trouble is if you play with all your mates as you are growing up, if you were minus 2 then, or minus 1, then you are going to think like minus 2 and minus 1 players. In general, as we see now, the better players are going to get above the pack, but they need to be given the ideas, and thinking from the very youngest age possible.”
“That’s why the 10 goal Argentines are so good, because they are associated with 10 goalers everywhere, and that’s why they get better so quickly.”
St. Moritz polo on track after cold snap
Fears that warmer than normal temperatures were preventing the depth of ice on the frozen lake in the Engadine Valley from allowing the Snow Polo World Cup to go ahead next week have been allayed by a new weather front.
It has meant that the construction works for the Snow Polo World Cup in St. Moritz have begun, paving the way for this year’s edition of the world’s most famous snow polo tournament.
The build-up of the ice on St. Moritz lake had been slow, due to warm weather in the last few weeks, organisers fearing that it may be prevented from going ahead. Water polo on horseback it is not. Nevertheless, the ice is now “of a good quality and has been growing steadily” according to organisers.
Last week, new measurements and stress tests were conducted on the surface, confirming that the ice will withstand the weight of stands and paraphernalia during the construction process.
Six days ago, the infrastructure on the lake began, with floors, tents, grandstands and supply lines. As for the preparation of the polo field, the organisers will decide this whether machine-made snow will have to be added to the anticipated snowfall.
Four “high goal” teams from Australia, Ireland, Italy and Switzerland will compete at the Snow Polo World Cup St. Moritz between 30 January and 1st February 2015.
James Harper and Max Charlton lead the Cartier team to the frozen lake looking for a third win in the Engadine Valley.
Team Cartier: Max Charlton (7), Chris Hyde (6) and Jonathan Munro Ford (0), Jamie Morrison (3).
Trois Pommes: Tutti Wolfensberger (1), Cedric Schweri (0), Pepe Riglos (6), Piki Diaz Alberdi (7)
BMW: Rommy Gianni (1), Paolo Netzsch (1), Dario Musso (7), Lucas Labat (6).
Badrutt’s Palace Hotel: Richard Fagan (1), Max Hutchinson (3), Richard Le Poer (6), James Harper (6)
Cambiaso campaign gains momentum
My campaign to have Adolfo Cambiaso at least recognised in the shortlist for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year starts here and now. Email me your submissions and citations and they will be passed on to Ed Moses, the CEO, and the Academy members at Laureus.
I can confirm the omission of Cambiaso again this year because I’m a voting member of the panel. Here are the names on the shortlist: Cristiano Ronaldo, Lewis Hamilton, Rory McIlroy, Marc Márquez, Lionel Messi, Renaud Lavillenie, Novak Djokovic, Kevin Durant, Zhang Jike, Ole Einar Bjørndalen, Marcel Hirscher, Floyd Mayweather, Ning Ze Tao, Kohei Uchimura, Jonny Wilkinson, Chad le Clos, Mitchell Johnson.
Without question, Cambiaso’s name merits mention alongside all those other candidates. Indeed, I’d go so far as to say that he is close to the very top of that pile.
This year would have been fitting after his triumphs in the Argentina Open with La Dolfina and success in the English High Goal season. It led to the 10-goaler winning The Olimpia De Oro in Argentina late last year, the equivalent of the UK’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year, making him only the second polo player to take the prize, after Juan Carlos Harriott.