Saturday, December 12, 2009

Polo.... born in India....perfected in Argentina

The game between Dolfina and Ellerstina teams at the Argentine Polo Open yesterday was a Dream Game. The two teams had the perfect 40 handicaps each. It was a rare opportunity and incredible excitement to watch the masters play at the Palermo polo stadium in Buenos Aires considered as the cathedral of polo.

Here are the perfect handicappers and their age in brackets from left to right:
Dolfina team in white - Castagnola(39), Mariano Aguerre(40), Lucas Monteverde(32) and Adolfo Cambiaso(34)
Ellerstina team in black, left to right-Facundo Pires ( 23),Gonzalo Pires (26),Pablo Mac Donough(27), Juan Martin Nero(28)

Both the teams played an impressive and fast paced game and were neck to neck all the time. Adolfo Cambiaso of Dolfina and Facundo Pires of Ellerstina, the top players, displayed their magic with the ball while flying on the horses. The match ended as a draw with 16 goals each at the end of the eight chukers. They went for a sudden death play-off. Dolfina made the golden goal and became the winner of the Argentine Open 2009.

Ellerstina had earlier won in this season the Tortugas Open and the Hurlingham Open and was hoping to make it a grand slam with the Palermo Open, which is also called as the Argentine Open. But they were outplayed by Dolfina, who took revenge against Ellerstina who beat them in the 2008 Open. Dolfina has won the Argentine open four times in the last five years.

The game of yesterday was a reconfirmation of the fact that Argentina is the undisputed leader of polo in the world. Argentina has, at this moment, 11 ten handicap players out of the twelve in the world. Argentina has not only the best players in the world but also has the largest number of top ranked players. All the top 30 ranked players of the world are Argentines except for the sixth ranked Uruguyan David Stirling. There are over 1000 polo fields in Argentina which also has the best polo horses in the world.
Adolfo Cambiaso is the best polo player in the world. He was the youngest player to reach ten handicap, at the age of ninteen in 1994, when he won the Grandslam of Argentina. Since then he has been winning tournaments in Argentina and around the world.
While Argentina has perfected the game, it was born in India. The modern game of polo, formalized and popularized by the British , originates from Manipur in India. The first polo club was established in the town of Silchar in Assam in 1834. The second polo club came up in Calcutta in 1862. The British took the game from India to Britain, Europe and Americas and popularised them. While the glamour of polo was kept up by the royalty of Jaipur and Jodhpur, the level of the game in India has remained low. The highest handicap in India is said to be six. Since it is an expensive game it has been maintained mainly by the Indian army, which could afford horses. Now there is a boost to the game by the entry of Indian corporate chiefs who play and patronise the game. Even with this, India is likely to continue in the minor league while Argentina has taken the game to new levels of excellence. They say that there are two levels of polo: world class and Argentine class...
Felicitaciones Argentina...... Felicitaciones Cambiaso....

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