Roda polo, the new sport without horses to attract fans

Bill Javier Tanoira that he saw another polo, of more speed and beauty than the one that is usually appreciated today. Restless and enthusiastic, the former polo player, and son of the remembered 10 goals Gonzalo Tanoira, never stopped thinking of a way for his sport to recover what had captivated him since he was very young. He reflected, wrote, experimented and sought support to materialize an idea that makes him happy and with the expectation that it will become something much bigger than what it already is.

Polo on wheels and with a tennis ball. It is called “pole wheel” and adds followers both in Argentina and abroad. From Sotogrande, Spain, one of his European stops to give clinics and spread the word about this new discipline, Tanoira recounts the origin of a new project with which he intends to bring polo closer to more people.E-wheels cost between $800 and $2,000, but they don’t require much maintenance; the best players are the boys.GUADALUPE AIZAGA

“Without anyone to blame, the bosses entered the scene and players of very different levels began to compete with each other, things that do not happen in other sports. Polo became so expensive that the good players who did not have the means began to play with the bad ones who did, and they began to form teams. Y when there are players of different levels in the same team, the idea that everyone plays the same thing is lostIt became one more game of blocking, of slowing down, and it became less cute, less flashy”, explains the former Triple Crown polo player.

In pursuit of improving and making his sport more attractive, he spent a lot of time writing an essay of new rules, which had some acceptance but were not fully implemented. His next step was to create a professional league, the All Pro Polo League, with which he tried to recover speed, reduce the number of horses used and make the game much more even and open to more protagonists. He recruited the litter of 16 and 17-year-old players at the time, including professionals now consolidated in the elite: Juan Martín Zubía, Jerónimo Del Carril, Segundo Bocchino, Juan Britos. With them he exhibited around the world for four years until a second much more critical theoretical essay arrived, almost an extensive personal catharsis. On page 30 of the text he proposed to invent a sport that would be like polo but without the animal, “which today it allows only billionaires to play”.

Javier Tanoira, the former Triple Crown polo player who promotes this new discipline, but who says he did not create it:
Javier Tanoira, the former Triple Crown polo player who promotes this new discipline, but who says he did not create it: “The inventors were the 12-year-old boys,” he warns.GUADALUPE AIZAGA

“By replacing the horse with a machine we were going to make it much more accessible”, the former striker, who was received by important technological entrepreneurs in the country, enthuses in retrospect. As soon as Tanoira presented them with the estimated budget, which he had in a draft, they offered to finance a mechanical horse prototype, but the time of the pandemic and quarantine came and the project was slowed down. In those days Javier received several videos of the children of polo players who played sticks on e wheelsmotorized wheels what are they worth between 800 and 2000 dollars. It didn’t take him long to taste them, and the word “eureka” appeared in his mind.

He immediately communicated to his investors that the development of the prototype was going to take a longer time, approximately five years, and that the e-wheels were what was needed for this new sport to take to the field. The roda polo was born, for which its governing body is being formally established: the Roda Polo Federation.

High speeds, bent studs, ball disputes: the roda polo is a lot of fun for those who practice it, which is why it is successful among children and adolescents.
High speeds, bent studs, ball disputes: the roda polo is a lot of fun for those who practice it, which is why it is successful among children and adolescents.GUADALUPE AIZAGA

Las e wheels son self-balancing electric unicycles using a gyroscope. can develop 30 kilometers per hour as maximum speed. Part of the success in roda polo is in the bodily control that one has of them. Exactly as it happens with the horse in polo.

The new mode was well received by the polo family. In fact there was a fall tournament on three fields of the premises of the Argentine Polo Association in Pilar, which consisted of 120 parties of 10 minutes each. they signed up 135 players of between 8 and 22 years old. “I want it to be clear that I did not invent the roda polo. The inventors were the 12-year-olds”, Tanoira values, happy for the acceptance of a discipline that only in Argentina it has 400 playersof which four out of five are under 15 years old.

How roda polo was conceived, in the voice of Tanoira

“In recent months it has also caught on in older people,” its promoter enthuses, while calling for parents to be made aware of the issue of safety on board the e-wheels. “It is still a dangerous sport. As it has just been born, the casuistry is very low, due to the small number of games we have played. In polo, the risk is already known. I don’t want an ugly accident to happen to us in this. Hopefully not, but it can happen. That’s why, before buying the wheel for the son they should know”, warns Tanoira.

Having made the warning, Javier foresees the future in the medium and short terms. “The next thing is to get your own spaces, since the courts trodden by horses are not ideal for later playing on wheels,” he says. Then, roda polo fields are coming, a complementary sport that It is not here to compete with traditional polo, but to recover the fun and accessibility of bygone times.

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