Polo, the Sport of Kings

Polo sport is a little known. Many people don’t know the basics of this sport, in which horsemen try to score a goal with some sort of mallet. The objective is to score as many points as possible between the two wicker poles that form the goal.

A curiosity of polo sport is that it’s one of the most profitable sports,  as a lot of its fans are big businessmen in the country.

One of the most important tournaments in Spain is the Land Rover International Tournament, which is played in Sotogrande. The participation of the teams in the competition generates 41 million euros of revenue.

Let’s highlight some of the most important tournaments in the world:

Grand Slam:

  • Abierto de Palermo (Argentina)
  • US Open Florida (USA)
  • Gold Cup (United Kingdom)

Championship Cup

  • Abierto de Hurlimgham (Argentina)
  • Queen’s Cup (United Kingdom)
  • Copa de Oro. Santa María Polo Club (Spain)

We can also mention great figures of this sport like David Stirling, Uruguayan; or the Argentine Facundo Pieres, Adolfo Cambiaso, Juan Martín Nero and Pablo Mac Donough. These players earn between 40,000 and 1,000,000 euros.

polo sportv From left to right, David Stirling, Facundo Pieres, Adolfo Cambiaso, Juan Martín Nero and Pablo Mac Donough in Sotogrande. (Pic by Fuera de Serie)

Argentinean polo sport is one of the best in the world as it’s the home of dynasties such as Heguy, Harriott, Merlos, Novillo Astrada or Pieres. Who are famous for their role with the Ellerstina team, composed by three brothers and their cousin, and who play yearly for the Polo’s world sceptre —The Triple Crown of the Argentinean Polo—against their enemies in the field (but friends in real life) from La Dolfina team (formed by Cambiaso, Stirling, Mac Donough and Nero).

However, Spain isn’t a country where the practice of this sport is widespread. During the year, there are very few tournaments and only in the summer International Land Rover Polo Tournament is celebrated, which we mentioned above.

Some relevant facts about the most important championship in Spain are the following ones:

  • 150 players
  • 72,352 spectators
  • 5 players in the world Top 10.
  • 32 teams
  • 1.180 horses
  • 159 matches in 36 days
  • 40 sponsors
  • 500 workers
  • 480 minutes of television
  • 250 media cover the event in 65 countries

Besides, it is worth to mention Nacho Domecq Urquijo, who is 58 years old and has five sons. He is the grandfather of Spanish polo and owns all the records. He is still playing at Sotogrande tournaments and lives for this sport. And he also makes a living with it. Jerez players were forged in the polo club of this city, which is now municipal property and the oldest polo club in Spain. Mora Figueroa family, sports rivals of the Domecq for years, are the owners of the Santa María Club. Perico Pantera Domecq, his father, is a legend of polo sport  and he has given the polo shirt and his logo to Ralph Lauren to popular culture.

The big polo players spend at least seven months of the year competing at International Opens, as they are England, USA, Spain or Dubai to earn money. Teams are created by patrons, amateur players with enough resources. They are mixed teams with amateurs and professionals. Therefore, we must also mention some amateur players according to the World Polo Tour: Rashid Albwardy (son of Cambiaso’s patron in Spain and England Ali Albwardy) and Steve Van Andel (patron of  Facundo and Pablo Pieres).

Another interesting fact is that the mount and the equipment cost between 30.000 and 300.000 euros. The mallet costs between 50 and 100 euros. We must also have in mind that there are three levels in the game:

  • Low handicap (0-6 goals per team).
  • Medium (12-16).
  • High (20-40). In a high handicap teamthey play 25 persons.

Polo sport has its rules. Here there are the most important:

  1. The polo mallet is always in the rider’s right hand. Even left-handed players must obey this rule. The mallet size is from 50 to 54 inches. Approximately 1,30 meters, though it is usually proportional to the horse’s width.
  2. The polo ball is made of wood or plastic, is always white and weighs between 120 and 130 grams. Its diameter ranges from 76 to 89 mm.
  3. We must highlight the petisero (horse worker). It’s the person who takes care of horses, their physical coach and their trainer figure.
  4. The tail of a polo horse is always braided and tied in order to avoid entangling the hair with the competitors mallets.
  5. The Thirdman is the only referee without a horse, his position is outside the field.
  6. A field is 270 meters long and 145 meters wide. It is the size of five football fields.
  7. The Chukker is an one-game period (7 minutes). A polo match has a minimum of four and amaximum of eight chukkers.
  8. A match has four players. The number one is the attacker, the number two is the attackingmidfielder and the numbers three and four are the defender pivot or the back.
  9. Another rule is that when the two teams tie, you have to play an additional chukker. The first team to score a goal is the one that wins.
  10. When a player hits the ball, the imaginary line created between him and the ball can’t becut by the opponent.

If you want to know further about this or some others subjects, don’t hesitate to leave your comment below or to contact us to iluxenio@iluxenio.com

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