With the conclusion of the 2021 Argentine season, the world of polo now turns its eyes towards the United States. The GAUNTLET OF POLO®, played at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (Wellington, Florida), joins the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship® (played in conjunction with Port Mayaca Polo Club in Okeechobee, Florida) and the new Wellington Polo Tour between January and April. With the coming months to be packed with action, CLICKPOLO spoke with Hope Arellano* who had a fantastic first season in Argentina.
The 18-year-old American player won the Subsidiary Argentine Women’s Open Final with her team La Irenita Libra Seguros, as they defeated La Aguada Rioplatense 13-12, after closing a 6-goal difference in handicap.
“Our plan is to organize ourselves to play together again next year, which I couldn’t be happier about!” Hope told CLICKPOLO after the tournament. Just a couple of days later, the organization led by the MacDonough family confirmed that the same team will return as Hope will be joined by Izzy Parsons, Fatima Balzano and Milagros “Mili” Sanchez.
La Irenita Libra Seguros – Milagros “Mili” Sanchez, Izzy Parsons, Hope Arellano, Fatima Balzano. ©Matias Callejo
On top of placing third in the Argentine Women’s Open, Hope received the tournament’s Revelation Award and later played the first Women’s Copa de las Naciones in Palermo, a unique experience in women’s polo, with Argentina, England, and the United States facing off in the three-team competition.
Hope, what can you tell us about your first experience in Argentina?
“Argentina overall was such an incredible experience! It couldn’t have been better. I learned so much and had the most amazing time!”
What can you say after your first Argentine Women’s Open? Was it what you expected?
“Going into it I had no expectations. I wanted to be as well prepared as possible and try my best. To be able to play with a team like this one was something so special. I would never have expected it to have been that amazing and for all of us to have connected as well as we did.”
Hope Arellano was the recipient of the 2021 Revelation Award in Palmero, Argentina. ©Pro Focus.
You finished third behind the two favorite teams. Was that your goal before the tournament?
“I think all we wanted was to work as hard as we could and perform better every game as a team. It didn’t matter where we ended up as long as we were giving it our best. To end up in third place was absolutely incredible.”
You also received the Revelation Award. What can you share about that?
“I feel so honored to have received the Revelation Award. I was so surprised; I could not believe it!”
Arellano competing for USA in the Women’s Copa de las Naciones, at Palmero in Argentina. ©Matias Callejo
After the Argentine Women’s Open you played in the Women’s Copa de las Naciones. What was that like?
“It is always such an honor to play [for the United States], and to get the opportunity to play on such a historic field such as Palermo was truly unimaginable.”
How will your season in America continue?
“Starting the New Year, I will be in Florida where I will be playing the first U.S. Junior Open Test Match, a few mixed tournaments, and the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship® with Sarah Siegel-Magness! I am very excited for the season to start!”
*Hope Arellano is an Active Member of Team USPA. Team USPA is a USPA program designed to enhance and grow the sport of polo in the United States by identifying young, talented American players and providing mentored training and playing opportunities leading to a pool of higher rated amateur and pro players and the resultant giveback to the sport of polo.