In a very even and tight heartbeat final in front of an enthusiastic 5,000 people home crowd Team Bogner with Richard Fagan (1), Mario Gomez (4) and Santiago Torreguitar (3) defeated the European Champions of last year Team Gilan Holding with excellent playing Elchin Jamalli (3), Tarlan Qurbaneliyev (2) and Agustin Kronhaus (3) by 5-4. Both teams met each other already on Saturday and knew each other for the final. Team Gilan Holding played the match at a blistering pace, particularly Azeri star Elchin Jamalli. They seemed to catch up in the third chukka. But Bogner was capable to keep the slight advantage and gained victory.
In the first game of the final Sunday the Elite Horse and Polo Club Bina in Baku welcomed Team Italdizain and Team Badrutt’s Palace Hotel playing for the third place. Italdizain took the lead from the first chukka on and never looked back since. In the first two chukkas the 17-year-old Enno Grams played alongside great playing Tito Gaudenzi and Patrick Maleitzke and featured an enthusiastic game. In the third chukka René Kleinlugtenbelt came in and did a good job in defence. Team Badrutt’s Palace Hotel could catch up four goals in the third and fourth chukka. But Italdizain with the Swiss brothers Fabio and Luca Meier as well as the strong 4-goaler Fabian Bolanterio from Argentina finished with a tight 8-7.
The team sponsors Badrutt’s Palace, Bogner, Gilan Holding and Italdizain Group presented strong teams with professional and amateur players from Azerbaijan, Switzerland, Argentina, Spain, Ireland and Germany. With CBC Sport a great title sponsor featured the polo venue and provided a live coverage of the matches on the Azeri TV.
This year Reto Gaudenzi, who has been appointed by General Elcin Guliyev (President ARAF) as the official representative of ARAF for international polo relations, brought together two unique polo locations. Baku and his birthplace St. Moritz. For the first time in Baku the legendary Hotel Badrutt’s Palace from St. Moritz was in charge of the VIP Catering together with the local caterer from Elite Horse & Polo Club. Reto Gaudenzi: “We saw three days of excellent and exciting polo. For us it was a great experience and success to bring together the destinations of Baku and St. Moritz. The ‘Baku Moritz Gala Night’ welcomed a few hundred guests and was the social highlight of the polo weekend in Baku. A unique combination which we are looking forward to continue next year.“ Yves Gardiol, General Manager of the Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, attended the CBC Sport Arena Polo World Cup Azerbaijan personally: “For me it was the first time in Baku. I am absolutely impressed by this modern and open city and the warm welcome we received here.“
About polo in Azerbaijan:
2013 the unique sport of polo was brought back to one of its origin countries, where the traditional polo version Shovgan was played over the centuries. Thanks to the pioneers and visionaries of a new polo era in their country, General Elcin Gulijev President of ARAF and Mr. Manuchehr Ahadpur Khangah, the modern sport of polo was raised from zero to a remarkable international level in Azerbaijan during the last four years. After hosting the first ever FIP Arena Polo European Championship in 2015, the ARAF-Elite Horse & Polo Club now presented the CBC Sport Arena Polo World Cup Azerbaijan. In the past four 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 the vibrant city applies for the European Championship in grass polo 2018. Therefore two full-size grass polo fields will be being built in Azerbaijan.
#1 TEAM BOGNER (Santa María Polo Club Sotogrande, Spain)
Santiago Torreguitar (ESP, 3)
Richard Fagan (IRL, 1)
Mario Gomez (ESP, 4)
Daniel Gariador (ESP, 2)
#2 TEAM GILAN HOLDING (Elite Horse & Polo Club Baku, Azerbaijan)
Elchin Jamalli (AZE, 3)
Tarlan Gurbanaliyev (AZE, 2)
Rashad Hasanov (AZE, 2)
Ali Rzayev (AZE, 0)
#3 TEAM ITALDIZAIN GROUP (Alegría Polo Club Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Fabio Meier (CH, 2)
Luca Meier (CH, 2)
Fabian Bolanterio (ARG, 4)
Werner Meier (CH, 1)
#4 TEAM BADRUTT’S PALACE HOTEL (Evviva Polo Club St Moritz, Switzerland)
Patrick Maleitzke (GER, 4)
Tito Gaudenzi (CH, 3)
René Kleinlugtenbelt (GER, 1)
Photos © www.imagesofpolo.com
Photos © POLO+10