The U.S. Polo Assn. Team dominated the final of the Italia Polo Challenge Cortina 2022, played on Saturday, January 8th, against the Goldspan Polo Team (14-11.5) in a floodlit arena with footing unanimously judged as perfect.
Polo on snow has a long tradition in Cortina d’Ampezzo (first played there in 1989) and the tournament, which ended after three exciting days with four teams playing, attracted a large number of enthusiastic spectators who braved the harsh weather (-7/- 8 degrees) and enjoyed high-level sport.
The winning team, which fielded France’s Clement Delfosse (hp 5), Germany’s Patrick Maleitzke (hp 5) and Felix Dassler (hp 0), won the day 14 to 11.5 against Goldspan, which instead fielded the Argentinean players Valentin Novillo Astrada (hp 6) and Pablo Guinazù (hp 3) as well as Luxemburg’s Bert Poeckes (hp 0).
The match was really only balanced during the first chukker, which Goldspan won 3.5 to 2 thanks to a hat-trick scored by Guinazù. After the second chukker it was practically all over. Delfosse and Maleitzke put on a real show, and goal after goal created an unbeatable gap with their opponents¸ 9 to 4.5 at the end of the second chukker and then 12 to 5.5 after the third.
U.S. Polo Assn. Vs Goldspan – ©IPC/Diego Bandion
The final chukker started with the most spectacular goal of the entire tournament; Maleitzke rode at least two-thirds of the arena keeping control of the ball to then hit it through the goal posts while an enthusiastic crowd cheered him on. In the final minutes of play the Goldspan team tried to reduce the distance but could do no better than finish on 14 to 11.5.
The match for third place was won by Team Battistoni, fielding Argentina’s Patricio Rattagan (hp 4), Germany’s Alexander Hauptmann (hp 2) and Italy’s Stefano Giansanti (hp 1), beating 8-6 the Hotel de la Poste, with players Felix Beguerie (hp 5), Therence Cusmano (hp 1) and Slovakia’s Martin Magal (hp 0). Battistoni’s top scorer was Rattagan with five goals out of the team’s eight.
© IPC/Diego Bandion