WELLINGTON, FL—September 22, 2017----Team Improtex Motors/Grand Champions Polo Club won the subsidiary title in its international debut at the Sept. 7-10 CBC Sport Arena Polo World Cup Azerbaijan.
The team of Melissa Ganzi, 1, Juan Bollini, 7, and Tito Gaudenzi, 3, was the only U.S. team in the field for the three-day tournament. Grand Champions was sponsored by Improtex Motors.
In the subsidiary final, Team Improtex Motors/Grand Champions defeated Team Pasha Private Banking/Monte Carlo Polo Team with a hardfought 6.5-3 victory. Team Pasha Private Banking was led by English team captain Rommy Gianni, 2, Chris Hyde, 9, and Giles Greenwood, 1.
Team Improtex Motors/Grand Champions lost its tournament opener to the eventual champions and bounced back with a victory in the second round to advance into the subsidiary.
Team CBC Sport/Elite Horse & Polo Club of Baku lived up to its pre-tournament favorites role, capturing the tournament title with an impressive 11.5-5 victory over Team Azersun/Ewiva Polo Club of St. Moritz, Switzerland (Zhanna Bandurko, 1, Raya Sidorenko, 1, Martin de Estrada, 4, Santiago de Estrada, 7, in the final.
Elchin Jamalli, 4, Rashad Hasanov, 3, Ali Rzayev, 3, Amil Namazov, 0, and Tarlan Gurbanaliyev, 2, was the most dominant team in the tournament. The team is also the 2015 European Arena Polo champions.
Team captain and Azeri star Elchin Jamalli was named Most Valuable Player.
“Our team trains twice a day,” said CBC Sport/Elite Horse & Polo Club coach Namiq Orujov. “At the beginning of the day we work on physical training and then comes tactical exercises. We were confident that we would reach our goal and that was winning.”
Organizer Reto Gaudenzi called the fifth annual event held at windswept ARAF Elite Horse & Polo Club “a wonderful success and the best ever.
“Polo nation Azerbaijan is about to become a new polo force in Europe,” Gaudenzi said. “We are very much looking forward to next year’s issue.”
The handicap tournament was 10-12 goals.
Since 2013, World Polo’s Reto Gaudenzi and Bahruz Nabijev of the Equestrian Federation of Azerbaijan Republic have created a highly successful tournament featuring polo, glitz and glamour that brings players and fans from around the world to Baku, which was awarded the 2020 FIP Grass Polo European Championships and is enjoying a resurgence in polo. Organizers provided live coverage of all of the matches on Azeri TV.
“Baku was a wonderful experience,” Ganzi said. “The event was first-class and hospitality of the people was so welcoming. The crowds were great and really love polo. I am absolutely impressed by this modern and open city and the warm welcome we received here”
Ganzi, USPA Florida Circuit Governor and Grand Champions Polo Club President, is the first woman to win the recent USPA Arena Handicap tournament. She was also the first woman to compete in the St. Moritz Polo World Cup snow polo tournament in 2016 since its inception and first woman to appear in a final as well as win the World Snow Polo Championship in Aspen as a member of Flexjet.
Bollini, a former 8-goaler from Argentina, was also a member of Flexjet’s winning arena team and was selected the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
Gaudenzi was making his fifth appearance in the Baku tournament. The international player competes on grass, snow, beach and in the arena. He has competed with Ganzi in several tournaments including the St. Moritz Polo World Cup for Badrutt’s Palace Hotel that finished runner-up to Cartier in the final.
Grand Champions Polo Club and its staff are now in the midst of preparing for its 11th fall season which begins Sept. 30 with the Tackeria Open.
During the fall, winter and spring seasons, Grand Champions Polo Club hosts polo tournaments ranging from six to 26-goal in addition to special events at its eleven well-manicured fields.
Grand Champions Polo Cup attracted a record 72 teams during its winter season that featured the $100,000 World Cup, $50,000 National 12-Goal, 20-Goal Sterling Cup and 20-Goal Molina Cup, and another 18 teams during the spring season.
The fall season will be live-streamed on Wellington-based ChukkerTV, leaders in polo broadcasting with cutting-edge technology.
Grand Champions Polo Club caters to men, women and youth polo players at all levels. Its’ expert staff can customize a complete playing experience including horses, pros and certified umpires in addition to lessons and practice sessions as part of its’ Polo On Demand program, the only polo club in the U.S. to offer the unique program.
The Polo School at Grand Champions and Director of Operations Juan Bollini are dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. The school’s mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through June and September through November.
GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB
2017 FALL SCHEDULE
(MEDIUM GOAL LEAGUE SCHEDULE)
Sept. 30-Oct. 2: Tackeria Invitational
Oct. 6-8: U.S. Trust Cup
Oct. 13-15: USPA Fall Classic
Oct. 20-22: USPA Fall Plates
Oct. 27-29: Pedro Morrison Memorial
Nov. 10-12: Polo Gear Challenge Cup
(HIGH GOAL LEAGUE SCHEDULE)
Oct. 28-Nov. 5: USPA North American Cup
Nov. 8-19: USPA National 20-Goal Championship
Nov. 25: Legends of Polo Carlos Gracida Memorial and USPA International Cup (U.S. vs. Brazil).