From polo's beginnings in Asia more than twenty centuries ago, China played a major role during the sport's initial stages, with polo forming part of the country's everyday life during its golden age. In recent years, polo has recovered sustained growth and development in the country, with new enterprises going ahead, such as the Tianjin Goldin Metroplitan Polo Club, the Nine Dragons Hill Polo Club, the Tang Polo Club, the Sunny Times Polo Club and the Shanghai Premier Club. There are many other projects on the way. With an ever-increasing calendar of tournaments and events, and with a group of players waiting to learn all about how the sport is played, polo is returning to its former glory in this part of the world. In this site, the polo enthusiast will be able to enjoy reading about the latest news, looking at the photo galleries, and a lot more referred to this sport in China.
October 13th, 2011 Add comment
Youngsters' tournament at the Tianjin Goldin Metropolitan Polo Club
United States claims under-18 title
Goldin U18 International Tournament 2011 winners from the USA polo team hold high the silver platter.
On a glorious autumn afternoon Tianjin Goldin Metropolitan Polo Club once again showcased the superb skills of budding polo players from a bevy of international youth teams.
Held on Oct 5th and 6th, 2011, at the nation's largest polo facility, the tournament featured junior players - all under the age of 18 years - hailing from the great polo playing nations of Argentina, USA, England and South Africa.
All games were played as 4-chukka matches under Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA) rules. Throughout the tournament spectators, including parents of some of the young polo players, were shown frequent displays of solid teamwork as well as some excellent horsemanship leading to some truly exciting play.
On Wednesday October 5th, the draw brought Argentina to play the USA and England versus South Africa. In the fast-moving match between Argentina and USA the Americans come out on top by just half a goal winning 5 1/2-5 against Argentina, with the USA's Kareem Rosser from Pennsylvania, aged 18, scoring 3 goals.
The match between South Africa and England saw an equally spirited showdown in the warmth of the late afternoon, with the South Africans leading for most of the first half. However, the England team managed to turn the game around and by the end of the match England had rallied to beat South Africa 6 1/2 thanks to the supreme efforts of 18-year old William "Will" Berner, who scored three goals, and Barnaby Wilson, aged 17, who scored the final goal. Berner was part of a visiting school team which attended the Metropolitan Polo Club's Junior Equestrian and Polo Programme held over this summer.
In the subsidiary final held on Thursday October 6th, Argentina met South Africa. South Africa again showed great promise with 3 goals under their belt in the first chukka. The Argentina team started off slowly but picked up speed and ended with 8 goals, 5 of them scored by Bautista Michelleti, aged 18. Overall it was Michelleti who proved to be the top scorer in the tournament placing a total of 7 goals. England's Will Berner was the tournament's second highest scorer with 6 goals.
In the interval spectators of all ages gathered on the field to 'stomp divots' a tradition whereby the audience steps on upturned turf or 'divots' to press it back into place. Goodie bags were offered to those who found a cork among the divots.
The final between team USA and team England was hard fought. From the start, the England players had been given a half-goal advantage due to handicap. After some fantastic play and spirited defence from the entire England team, the USA team members nonetheless, managed to gain the upper hand with Matthew Coppola driving home 3 goals in the second half, closing the game with 5 1/2 goals against England.
At the end of the tournament the USA team members took great joy in showering each other with champagne. The Most Valuable Player (MVP) award went to England's Max Hutchison, aged 18, who plays off a one-goal handicap. Max provided some superb defence tactics in the final and regularly stepped in to stop drives from the opposing team. The Best Pony award went to "Dunski", a seven year-old New Zealand mare, newly-arrived in July, played by Matthew Coppola from team USA.
The event ended with a post-match party on the field where all the polo players and guests enjoyed an evening of live music and tantalizing BBQ fare in a semi-open tent.
Next on the Metropolitan Polo Club events calendar is the biggest winter event of the year, Asia's second international Snow Polo Challenge running from 4-12 February 2012. After the huge success of the 2011 inaugural tournament up to a dozen teams are being invited to participate in the 2012 matches, guaranteeing even more excitement for polo fans.