WELLINGTON, Fl., February 14, 2018---The sport's next generation of polo players will take center stage Saturday at Grand Champions Polo Club with the fourth annual Polo Training Foundation (PTF) International Cup.
By Sharon Robb
Some of the sport's top young athletes including second and third generation players, will compete. Action gets under way at 10 a.m. and will be live streamed around the world by ChukkerTV, leaders in polo broadcasting.
One of the most-anticipated youth events of the winter polo season features four teams in a mini-tournament of eight chukkers.
The competition features four all-star teams. The team rosters are:
Argentina: Poroto Cambiaso, Santos Bollini, Miguel Novillo Astrada, Jr., Francisco Spinacci; Coach: Juan Bollini.
Flannels English Colts: Beanie Bradley, George Deverall, Harry Fuller, George Hobbs; Coach: Adrian Wade.
Girls International: Hope Arellano, Mia Cambiaso, Riley Ganzi, Mia Novillo Astrada; Coach: Alejandro Novillo Astrada.
PTF USA: Will Jacobs, Kristos Magrini, Clark Mayer, Juanse Olivera; Coach: Nic Roldan.
The Girls International team is the original girls team that went into double overtime against Team USA the first year of the tournament in 2015.
Argentina, with a rich tradition in polo at every level, is defending PTF International Cup champion. In last year's Cup, Argentina defeated PTF USA, 6-2.
Past PTF International Cup winners were: 2015, Team USA (Landen Daniels, Kristos Magrini, Mackie Weisz, Benji Daniels); 2016, Boys International Team (Santos Bollini, Juanse Olivera, Harrison Azzaro, Poroto Cambiaso); and 2017, Argentina (Santos Merlos, Poroto Cambiaso, Lucas Criado, Juanse Olivera).
Mia Cambiaso, the oldest daughter of polo great Adolfo Cambiaso, competed in the first Argentine Ladies Open and was a member of the winning La Dolfina team with teammates Milagros Fernandez Araujo, Nina Clarkin and Candelaria Fernandez Araujo, 7-6 overtime winners over Ellerstina.
While most of the tournament players are in Wellington for the season, the Flannels English Colts' participation is part of the PTF-HPA's annual exchange program which gives the players invaluable experience playing on top-caliber horses and fields against some of the best youth players in the world.
MVP and Sportsmanship Awards will be presented after the game. The MVP honor is the Peter Perkins Best Young Player Award. Perkins was a war veteran and polo champion. The former 9-goaler was a two-time U.S. Open champion. He died at age 78 in Delray Beach, Fla.
One of the highlights of the morning is watching the players' fathers and mothers, who are competing during the winter polo season, coaching and cheering their children from the sidelines.
The Polo Training Foundation, more than 50 years old, has been instrumental in the growth of junior and youth polo players by encouraging the sport's development with training programs, lessons and tournaments for boys and girls. The international exchange programs have been among the most popular.
The PTF was created in 1967 to teach the game of polo to youth by promoting youth clinics, interscholastic and intercollegiate competition, good sportsmanship and good will through friendly competition.
USPA Florida Circuit Governor and Grand Champions Polo Club President Melissa Ganzi is a longtime supporter of grass roots polo and Polo Training Foundation. She has played an integral role in developing young players with the The Polo School, a stand-alone USPA sanctioned club, at Grand Champions. Ganzi also serves as secretary for the PTF.
Most of the horses in the tournament will be provided by Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm.
Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique 100-acre polo facility in Wellington with 120 stalls in five self-contained barns, exercise track, five climate-controlled tack rooms, vet room, staff quarters, guest house and polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation and stick-and-ball fields.
During fall, winter and spring seasons, Grand Champions Polo Club, the nation's largest club with 11 well-manicured fields, hosts polo tournaments ranging from six to 26-goal in addition to special events.
The club features monthly 6, 8 and 12-goal tournaments and women's weekly league play during the winter season in addition to two 16-20 tournaments, $50,000 National 12 Goal, $100,000 World Cup winner-take-all 0-40-goal tournament, WCT Tournament and USPA National President's Cup.
During the 2017 winter season Grand Champions attracted a record 72 teams and another 18 teams during the spring season.
Grand Champions 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 Club Hotline is 561-644-5050. It will be updated every day at 8 a.m. for both players and fans.