By Sharon Robb
WELLINGTON, Fla., September 29, 2018----Azerbaijan will meet Italy in the final of the FIP European Polo Championship Sunday at Villa A Sesta Polo Club in Tuscany, Italy.
Azerbaijan defeated Ireland, 5-3, in the semifinals and also the Netherlands, 7-3; France, 8-4; and Slovakia, 11-7, in early games.
The championship, co-organized by the Federation of International Polo and Italian Federation Equestrian Sports, featured ten teams including Azerbaijan, Austria, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Ireland and Italy with four of these countries (France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands) competing in a women's tournament for the second year.
The final between Azerbaijan (Fabian Bolanteiro, 3, Elchi Jamali, 2, Rashad Hasanov, 0, Agustin Kronhaus, 3) and Italy (Martin Joaquin, 4, Edoardo Ferrari, 3, Lucas Bertola, 0, Gualterio Gioro, 1) will be streamed live by pololine.tv.
It will serve as a preview for this year's Nov. 24 International Cup at Grand Champions Polo Club. This year the U.S. team will put its six-year winning streak on the line against Azerbaijan, known as the Land of Fire and Ice and one of the most improved polo teams in the world.
Last year Team USA ( Grant Ganzi, Carlitos Gracida, Julio Arellano, Mike Azzaro) defeated Brazil, 9-7, to capture the sixth annual International Cup event. Arellano was named Most Valuable Player for the third consecutive year. Since 2012, Team USA has defeated England, Chile, Mexico, South Africa and Uruguay in International Cup history.
The Grand Champions Polo Club staff is putting the finishing touches on its fields at Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm in preparation for the upcoming fall season that begins mid-October.
One of the nation's busiest and innovative polo clubs will host both medium goal and high goal leagues highlighted by the Triple Crown of Polo Tournament and International Cup.
The medium goal schedule features six tournaments including the season-opening Tackeria Invitational, Oct. 11-14. The tournament has a special place in club history as the inaugural tournament when the club first opened.
Among the highlights of the season are the Oct. 15-27 USPA North American Cup, Oct. 24-28 USPA Fall Classic, Nov. 1-4 USPA Fall Plates, Nov. 3-17 USPA National 20-Goal Championship; Nov. 14 Triple Crown of Polo Tournament and Romero Britto Celebration; and Nov. 24 doubleheader featuring the Legends of Polo Carlos Gracida Memorial and International Cup.
The well-organized fall tournaments attract players from all over the United States and world including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, England, France, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria and South Africa.
Grand Champions had its finest fall season in club history last year. Grand Champions was the only club in the nation to stage two USPA-sanctioned 20-goal fall tournaments and again is hosting two 20-goal tournament this season.
The Grand Champions Fall Invitational League is geared toward improving a player's polo skills at every level. Roster lineups change from tournament to tournament with evenly-matched teams featuring pro and amateur players. It's also a great opportunity for players and sponsors to prepare for the winter season.
Club owners Marc and Melissa Ganzi, both accomplished players, take pride in teaching and sharing the exciting sport of polo with anyone interested in learning. The husband and wife team are coming off a successful summer season at their Aspen Valley Polo Club which concludes over Labor Day Weekend.
The fall league features: stick-and-ball sessions during the week; two medium tournament games every weekend; ambulance and USPA umpires for all tournament games; world-class polo fields; club-sponsored social events every weekend for all players; and top-of-the-line trophies for all teams every weekend.
The Polo School, a 501c3 organization and stand-alone USPA club, is dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. Its mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo at every economic and ability level. Scholarships are available. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through June and September through November. For more information on the Fall Leagues or Polo School contact Juan Bollini at 561-346-1099.
Wellington-based ChukkerTV will live stream the entire fall season. ChukkerTV's state-of-the art technology also features team challenges and instant replay which made their debut at Grand Champions in January, 2014.
Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm hosts polo tournaments ranging from six to 26-goal in addition to special events at its well-manicured fields during the fall, winter and spring seasons.
Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm cater 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 at the turnkey facility.