FIP Zone A Playoffs at International Polo Club Palm Beach
Sunday was a fun day. Full of polo. First I started off at Grand Champions, which you can read about here (will open in a new page so you can read it, when finished with this post). Then we all headed over to IPC for the final of the FIP (Federation of International Polo) Zone A playoffs.
23 polo players representing their respective countries of USA, Mexico and Guatemala had been training together for a month to compete for a spot in the XI FIP World Polo Championships, which will be held at the Sydney Polo Club in Richmond, Australia, October 21-29. Hmm, I suddenly feel like including a trip “down under” in my polo calendar.
The FIP World Polo Championships was established in 1987 and takes place every three years in a different country, at 10-14 goals it is a very competitive tournament. The clubs and local patrons provide horses, which are then tested by excellent horsemen, for this leg José Lartirigoyen was the Horse Master, and graded and pooled together, to give teams equal conditions. During the match we could see horses had numbers spray painted on them, this is the reason why.
FIP is a great organisation, with a mission statement to promote and unify polo rules and handicaps worldwide, whilst also promoting the sport and encouraging international relationships through polo. Through several polo tournaments worldwide; on grass, arena and snow, the organisation manages to forge tight bonds between clubs and players from different parts of the world.
I met up with my friend Sheryel, who takes wonderful action shots of polo matches in Wellington, check out her pictures of the match here. And we had a great time cheering on the teams and taking a few selfies 😉 And with Chukker, the Chukker.TV mascot.
Game report by FIP:
The XI Federation of International Polo (FIP) World Polo Championship Zone “A” Playoffs culminated in a captivating final between Mexico and the United States. The closing match of the tournament took place on the renowned Engel and Völkers Field 1 of the International Polo Club (IPC).
USA captured the lead straight out of the first lineup with three field goals. Under the direction of coach Joel Baker, USA showcased classic open-style polo, capitalizing on one-shot precision passes but a resilient Mexico team would bounce back in the third chukker, shutting down the USA defense and scoring four unanswered goals to take the lead for the first time 6-5 at the half.
An unwavering USA team did not lose confidence, as Viana converted a penalty 3 open goal, followed by an equalizing goal from Radcliff, moving into the fifth chukker 7-all setting the stage for an electrifying final chukker as the teams battled for a position in the XI FIP World Polo Championship.
Both the USA and Mexico suffered penalties in the first three minutes of the fifth, but neither could translate them into goals. After USA scored a field goal, a nearside backshot miss by Mexico, allowed USA’s Viana time to score the final goal, sealing the win for USA 9-7.
Most Valuable Player was awarded to Felipe Viana for exceptional play, the game high scorer with five goals on the day. Best Playing Pony was presented to nine-year-old Chili played by Mexico, owned by Del Walton and bred by Gabriel Crespo in Aiken, South Carolina.
USA: Remy Du Celliee Muller 3, Geronimo Obregon 4, Felipe Viana 5, Robert Herndon Radcliff 2. Total 14 handicap goals.
Mexico: Juan José de Alba 4, Alejandro Gonzalez 3, Mariano Gracida 4, Diego Velarde 3. Total 14 handicap goals.