CBC Sport Arena Polo World Cup Azerbaijan 2016
Yesterday, Sunday 11 September, saw the Finals of CBC Sport Arena Polo World Cup, contested by teams from Azerbaijan, Switzerland, Spain and Argentina. The teams again played in front of a sold out crowd in Baku, Azerbaijan. The Finals were made all the more special as both matches were broadcast live to over twenty countries, as CBC Sports televised the matches direct from the stadium.
After two days of preceding play, the Garachay Holding Cup was contested between Italdizian Group (Argentina) and Badrutt’s Palace (Switzerland), both of which were eager to claim third place in the tournament. Having started the tournament slowly, it was Italdizian Group who were quickest out of the blocks and by the middle of the second chukka were leading 7-3. At times, it seemed that every shot taken by Pato Bolanterio and the Meier brothers found its way into the Badrutt’s Palace goal.
However, by the middle of the third chukka, Badrutt’s Palace had rallied and were on the way up, only for Captain, Patrick Maleitzke to withdraw injured. Although Badrutt’s Palace did equalise 7-7, the loss of their Captain appeared to slow the momentum they had worked so tirelessly to build up. Fortunately, Polo Doctor, Andy Krüger was on hand to make sure that the leading German player was well looked after. The Final score was 8-7 in favour of Italdizian Group, with the winning goal being scored by sharp shooter Fabio Meier.
Following the drama of the first game, the atmosphere in the stadium was electric. The crowd welcomed local favourites, Gilan Group (Azerbaijan) rapturously as they rode onto the turf to take on the undefeated Bogner (Spain) for the CBC Sport Arena Polo World Cup. The Final was tightly contested, with both teams playing a direct and fast style of play, much to the delight of the impassioned crowd. By the end of the third chukka, the result was very much still in the balance with both teams showing signs of nerves in front of goal.
However, it was the combined team experience of Bogner, who frequently play together in Sotogrande, Spain, that eventually prevailed. Spanish player, Mario Gomes completed a sensational hat trick in the last chukka to take victory with a score of 5-4. Speaking after the game, Mario commented, “It was a very tough game, the Gilan Holding team played amazingly well. They are relatively new to polo, so next year will be even tougher as the Azeri players will continue to get better and better. To win the tournament for my country is a very special moment.”
After such a successful tournament organised by World Polo in conjunction with the Equestrian Federation of Azerbaijan, players and supporters, in true World Polo style, enjoyed a final supper together at the Hotel Badamar before flying home.
CBC Sport Arena Polo World Cup Azerbaijan 2016 Positions:
1st – Bogner (Santa María Polo Club Sotogrande, Spain): Santiago Torreguitar (ESP, 3), Richard Fagan (IRL, 1), Mario Gomez (ESP, 4) &
Daniel Gariador (ESP, 2)
2nd – Gilan Holding (Elite Horse & Polo Club Baku, Azerbaijan): Elchin Jamalli (AZE, 3), Tarlan Gurbanaliyev (AZE, 2), Rashad Hasanov (AZE, 2) & Ali Rzayev (AZE, 0)
3rd – Italdizian Group (Alegría Polo Club Buenos Aires, Argentina): Fabio Meier (CH, 2), Luca Meier (CH, 2), Fabian Bolanterio (ARG, 4) & Werner Meier (CH, 1)
4th – Badrutt’s Palace (Evviva Polo Club St Moritz, Switzerland): Patrick Maleitzke (GER, 4), Tito Gaudenzi (CH, 3) & René Kleinlugtenbelt (GER, 1)
Photograph: Bogner, CBC Sport Arena Polo World Cup Champions 2016. By ©www.imagesofpolo.com