With an atmospheric and amazing opening ceremony the matches of the CBC Sport Arena Polo World Cup Azerbaijan 2016 commenced on Friday, 9th September. Shovgan players and horse acrobats featured stunning action and performed breathtaking stunts and dressage. The traditional polo version Shovgan was played in Azerbaijan over the centuries. Four years ago the modern sport of polo was brought back to Azerbaijan as one of its origin countries. Last year the first ever Arena Polo European Championship were successfully held in Baku. This time, the CBC Sport Arena Polo World Cup is not a competition between countries, but international club teams contest for victory.

On this first day of matches, the local favourites and defending champions, TEAM GILAN HOLDING (Elite Horse & Polo Club Baku, Azerbaijan) took on TEAM ITALDIZAIN GROUP (Alegría Polo Club Buenos Aires, Argentina) in the first game.

Team Gilan Holding with Coach Agustin Kronhaus playing on position two alongside Elchin Jamalli and Tarlan Qurbaneliyev had a good start into the match and took the lead right from the start. Team Italdizain Group featuring the Swiss brothers Fabio and Luca Meier as well as the Argentinean professional Fabian Bolanterio started with half a goal awarded but could not settle nerves down in the first chukka. They caught up in the second round up to 2.5-4. A tight and fast game including numerous penalty shots followed. In the end the Azeri team kept the final lead and defeated Team Italdizain by 9-7.5. Jan-Erik Franck (commentator) and Mark Holmes (umpire) resume: „The local team got of to a flying start and scored 4 goals. The Swiss/Argentinean Team Italdizain took two chukkas to get up and running at full speed. Then they started to play and put pressure on the Azeri team, which was very much driven by their coach Agustin Kronhaus and regained power for the essential goals and victory.“

The second game was played between TEAM BADRUTT’S PALACE HOTEL (Evviva Polo Club St Moritz, Switzerland) and TEAM BOGNER (Santa María Polo Club Sotogrande, Spain). Both teams seemed ready for a competitive challenge and fast match. After the first chukka the score was even with a 2-2. Patrick Maleitzke, vice champion of the European Championship, Tito Gaudenzi and René Kleinlugtenbelt played for Badrutt’s Palace Hotel. The Spanish team with Richard Fargan, Daniel Gariador and Mario Gomez was driven to a 7-4 lead by the 4-golaer Gomez already in the second round and could keep this advantage through the following chukkas. With a final score of 11-9 Team Bogner defeated Badrutt’s Palace Hotel in the end. Jan-Erik Franck (commentator) and Mark Holmes (umpire) resume: „Team Bogner started scoring the first goal of Richard Fargan within the first minute and the team never looked back since. Patrick Maleitzke alongside his very strong team mate Tito Gaudenzi played a very good match, but the two did not have the remedy to make it against three very strong Bogner player.“

With CBC Sport a great title sponsor features the polo venue and provides a live coverage of the matches on the Azeri TV. 
By broadcasting the polo live CBC creates an increasing popularity and amount of interest for the sport among the Azeri people.

The iconic Badrutt’s Palace Hotel from St. Mortiz in Switzerland provides the VIP hospitality which anticipates the event to draw large crowds on the final weekend. On Saturday the glamorous “Baku Moritz Night Polo Party” sponsored by Azersun Holding presented by Badrutt’s Palace Hotel St. Moritz and the Elite Event Hall Baku will highlight the vibrant polo venue in Baku.

Programme:

Friday, 9th September 2016
5.00 pm Gate Open
6.00 pm 1st Polo match: GILAN HOLDING – ITALDIZAIN GROUP
7.15 pm 2nd Polo match: BADRUTT’S PALACE – BOGNER

Saturday, 10th September 2016
5.00 pm Gate Open
6.00 pm 1st Polo match: BADRUTT’S PALACE – ITALDIZAIN GROUP
7.15 pm 2nd Polo match: BOGNER – GILAN HOLDING
8.00 pm “Baku Moritz Night” Polo Party sponsored by AZERSUN HOLDING presented by Badrutt’s Palace Hotel St. Moritz and Elite Event Hall Baku

Ticket Hotline:
(+994 12) 565 31 51, (+994 51) 664 52 51, (+994 55) 246 68 96, (+994 55) 920 99 51

Sunday, 11th September 2016
5.00 pm Gate Open
6.00 pm 1st Polo match – Garachay Holding Cup – Finals for 3rd/4th Place
7.15 pm 2nd Polo match – CBC Sport Arena Polo World Cup Azerbaijan – Final Arena Polo World Cup Azerbaijan 1st/2nd Place
8.20 pm Prize-giving ceremony – Fireworks

Teams:

TEAM BADRUTT’S PALACE HOTEL (Evviva Polo Club St Moritz, Switzerland)
Patrick Maleitzke (GER, hdc 4)
Tito Gaudenzi (CH, hdc 3)
René Kleinlugtenbelt (GER, hdc 1)

TEAM GILAN HOLDING (Elite Horse & Polo Club Baku, Azerbaijan)
Elchin Jamalli (AZE, hdc 3)
Tarlan Gurbanaliyev (AZE, hdc 2)
Rashad Hasanov (AZE, hdc 2)
Ali Rzayev (AZE, hdc 0)

TEAM BOGNER (Santa María Polo Club Sotogrande, Spain)
Santiago Torreguitar (ESP, hdc 3)
Richard Fagan (IRL, hdc 1)
Mario Gomez (ESP, hdc 4)
Daniel Gariador (ESP, hdc 2)

TEAM ITALDIZAIN GROUP (Alegría Polo Club Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Fabio Meier (CH, hdc 2)
Luca Meier (CH, hdc 2)
Fabian Bolanterio (ARG, hdc 4)
Werner Meier (CH, hdc 1)

OFFICIALS
Speaker: Jan-Erik Franck
Timekeeper: Christian Dunkelberg
Ball Judge: Antonio D’Aurelio
Umpire: Mark Holmes
Polo DJ: Ray Douglas

About polo in Azerbaijan:
Azerbaijan is known as the birthplace of polo and in 2013, the sport returned to Baku with the Grass Arena Polo World Cup Azerbaijan. In the past three years World Polo organised three successful polo events in the Azerbaijani capital, under the direction of Reto Gaudenzi and in cooperation with the Equestrian Federation of Azerbaijan Republic (ARAF) and the Elite Horse and Polo Club Bina. Following the huge success of the first two years, Baku was last year scene for the first ever FIP Arena Polo European Championship. 2018 the vibrant city applies for the European Championship in grass polo.

www.worldpolo.com