In the aftermath of the COVID-19, which has been declared a pandemic, polo was forced to cancel tournaments all over the world. However, there have been many things that happened within the sport through January 1 and the moment to write this article; many achievements that are worth to notice and remember. After shortened seasons in Thailand, Dubai and US, among others, these have been the most important moments of the first three months of 2020.
AlUlA Desert Polo, the first official tournament held in Saudi Arabia, as part of the Winter at Tantora cultural festival and organized by the Royal Commission for AlUla, in the natural arena of the exquisite UNESCO heritage site in AlUla desert. The event captivated the public due for the charm of the place and for being the first official polo tournament in Saudi Arabia. Some of the most important patrons of the área were in participation: Amr Zedan, Mohammed Al Habtoor, Alia Al Maktoum, and the four La Dolfina players. Historic.
The chinese team, commanded by Shilai Liu, achieved the most important trophy of Asia after beating locals Thai Polo Team in the final. It was the first ever Thai Open title for this lineup: Shilai, Darío Musso, Diego Gómez and Toly Ulloa.
After an unforgettable 2019 that included titles at the Thai Polo Open and B.Grimm Thai Polo Masters, Mohamed Moiz’ organization claimed once again the latter tournament. With six teams up to 14 goals in participation, La Familia (Mohamed Moiz, brothers Matías and Andrés Vial and Ignacio Ithurburu) beat the also malaysian team Royal Pahang.
With only 15 years old, Sabrina “Beanie” Bradley, broke into the polo world with an impressive talent and strength. Notable goals, understanding of the game and much more. Despite she already shone in the England’s 2019 Victrix Ludorum, this year she overwhelmed Thailand, and, in addition, she claimed Queen’s Cup Pink Polo with La Familia. A player to follow.
After a five-year waitting, the Abu Dhabi based organization, claimed again the Dubai Silver Cup. The team made up of Marcos Araya, Pablo Llorente, César Crespo and Ali Al Merri beat the defending champion and powerful UAE Polo.
After losing the Dubai Silver Cup final, Sheikha Maitha’s organization was focused on the most important tournament in Middle East and one of the most competitives worldwide. After beating AM Polo – her cousin Sheikha Alia Al Maktoum’s team – , UAE claim the tournament for second time in a row thanks to a superlative performance of the team’s three pros: Tomas and Benjamin Panelo, and Tommy Beresford, together with their coach and manager Lucas Monteverde.
In 2019 they were very close, but they lost the championship game after a final against the powerful Pilot. In this 2020 the story was very different. After overcoming the qualifiers with convincing performances, they faced and beat La Indiana in the final. Therefore, the lineup made up of Camilo Bautista, David Stirling, Francisco Elizalde and Mackenzie Weisz, claimed the first leg of the Gauntlet of Polo.
FIRST DEFEAT FOR PILOT IN THE GAUNTLET OF POLO
For Curtis Pilot’s organization, 2019 was a year not to forget: they won the three titles of the Gauntlet of Polo, and crowned the year taking home the argentine Jockey Club Open. Despite they were one of the favourites this 2020, they had a major obstacle in their way: La Indiana. Bickford’s team beat them in the semifinals of the CV Whitney Cup, taking away the historic undefeated record they had in 22-goal tournaments.
Only 11 seconds after the throw-in that gave start of the Thai Polo Open semifinal between Tang Polo and La Familia, Carlos “Toly” Ulloa quickly took the ball, made a great run and scored the first goal for his team.
WORLD POLO LEAGUE LAUNCHED ITS SECOND SEASON
Organized between Valiente and Grand Champions, the highest handicapped series outside Argentina, celebrated its second season. Although as it happened to the rest of the world, their success was interrupted due to circumstances known to the public. Since the start of the WPL in February, many of the best polo players participated.
THE COVID-19 TOOK OVER EVERYTHING
An unprecedent situation, at least in the modern history. The Coronavirus pandemic is the current protagonist… and only God knows until when. Between human losses and a large number of infected people, the virus ended the polo activity indefinitely.