World Polo Championship

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World Polo Championship
Sport Polo
Founded 1987
No. of teams 10 (Finals)
Continent International (FIP)
Most recent champion(s)  Argentina

The World Polo Championship is a polo competition between countries. The event is organised by the sport's governing body, the Federation of International Polo (FIP), and is contested by the men's national teams. The inaugural tournament was held in 1987, hosted by Argentina, and is now contested every three or four years.

The participating teams must have a handicap up to 14 goals. It's for this reason that, unlike other sports, the best players can't play the World Polo Championship.[1]

History[edit]

In the early 1980s, motivated by a desire to broaden the scope of international polo, as well as to restore the sport’s Olympic status, Marcos Uranga, then President of the Argentine Polo Association, proposed that an international organization be formed among the polo playing countries of the world. The initial meetings took place in Buenos Aires, and by April 1982, the Federation of International Polo, quickly known as “FIP,” was created. FIP’s first President was Marcos Uranga.

Buenos Aires 1987[edit]

To that end, Mr. Uranga spearheaded the movement for a World Championship and scheduled the first for April 1987 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Aware of the relative difficulty of fielding high-goal teams worldwide, the early FIP organizers wisely decided to limit competition to teams rated 10 to 14 goals. And, in an attempt to nullify the factor of the horses, they devised the then-revolutionary idea of split strings of horses - assigning matched strings of 28 horses to each team by the luck of the draw.

Berlin 1989[edit]

In 1989, the second FIP World Championship was played in Berlin, at Maifeld, the very stadium that had been the site of polo’s last appearance in the Olympic Games. The sport had come full-circle, and it underlined the growing influence of FIP in the world polo community. Argentina, Australia, Chile, England, France, Germany, Switzerland and the United States advanced to the playoffs. But this time there was a surprise: Argentina failed to make the finals. A talented U.S. team beat England by one goal for a 7-6 final score, with Brandon Sturrock scoring 4 of the 7 goals for the United States. The resulting publicity raised the visibility of FIP among U.S. polo players.

Santiago 1992[edit]

FIP World Championship III was played in Santiago, Chile, in 1992. Argentina made it “back to back” through the regionals, and knocked off team after team until they wound up in the finals. There they outscored the host country 12-7 for their second World Championship. The U.S. had to be content with fourth place behind England.

Saint Moritz 1995[edit]

In 1995, the fourth World Championship was held in Saint Moritz, Switzerland. Brazil fought its way gamely through the early rounds to meet Argentina in the final. Now it was Brazil’s turn for triumph. They pulled out an exciting win 11-10 to assume the mantle of World Polo Champions.

Since 1993 MIchael Schultz-Tholen, then the FIP delegate to the International Olympic Committee, arranged numerous meetings with IOC representatives including the President of the International Olympic Committee Mr.Juan Antonio Samaranch. Finally at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, the General Assembly of the International Olympic Committee granted the status of an IOC Recognized Sport and accepted the Federation of International Polo as the worldwide governing body for the sport of polo. This decision was confirmed ("outright recognition") two years later.

Santa Barbara 1998[edit]

In 1998, the fifth World Championship was held at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club in Santa Barbara, California. Mr. James Easton, a Member of the International Olympic Committee, presented Argentina, the winning team, with a history-making Olympic trophy. This was the first time in 62 years that the winning team of an international polo tournament was so honored.

Melbourne 2001[edit]

The FIP World Championship VI held in Melbourne, Australia in 2001 featured eight national teams that qualified through a demanding and highly competitive zone playoff system, which included 24 country teams participating worldwide. Brazil narrowly defeated Australia by one goal (Brazil 10, Australia 9) in an exciting tournament that any of the eight finalists could have won.

Chantilly 2004[edit]

In 2004, the Sixth World Championship was held in Chantilly, France. The tournament included eight teams. The qualifying rounds included 28 countries competing. All the games were very competitive. Brazil was not ready to give the title and defeated England in the final game (10 -9) in sudden death.

Mexico 2008[edit]

The eighth edition of the World Polo Championship took place in Mexico during May 2008 and was won by Chile.

Estancia Grande 2011[edit]

The ninth edition of the World Polo Championship took place in San Luis Province, Argentina during October 2011 and was won by Argentina. Brazil being second, and Italy took the third place after defeating England. It was the first time in World Polo Championship for Italy to achieve a podium.

Championships[edit]

Year City 1st 2nd 3rd
I 1987 Buenos Aires,  Argentina  Argentina  Mexico  Brazil
II 1989 Berlin,  Germany  United States  England  Argentina
III 1992 Santiago,  Chile  Argentina  Chile  England
IV 1995 Sankt Moritz,   Switzerland  Brazil  Argentina  Mexico
V 1998 Santa Barbara,  United States  Argentina  Brazil  England
VI 2001 Melbourne,  Australia  Brazil  Australia  Argentina
VII 2004 Chantilly,  France  Brazil  England  Chile
VIII 2008 Mexico City,  Mexico  Chile  Brazil  Mexico
IX 2011 Estancia Grande,  Argentina  Argentina  Brazil  Italy

Team ranking[edit]

Pos. Team Champion Runners-up Third Fourth
1st  Argentina 4 (1987, 1992, 1998, 2011) 1 (1995) 2 (1989, 2001) -
2nd  Brazil 3 (1995, 2001, 2004) 3 (1998, 2008, 2011) 1 (1987) -
3rd  Chile 1 (2008) 1 (1992) 1 (2004) 1 (1989)
4th  United States 1 (1989) - - 2 (1992, 1998)
5th  England - 2 (1989, 2004) 2 (1992, 1998) 2 (1995, 2001)
6th  Mexico - 1 (1987) 2 (1995, 2008) -
7th  Australia - 1 (2001) - -
8th  Italy - - 1 (2011) -
9th  Spain - - - 2 (1987, 2008)
10th  France - - - 1 (2004)

By Nation[edit]

Country 1987 1989 1992 1995 1998 2001 2004 2008 2011
 Argentina 1st 3rd 1st 2nd 1st 3rd P. round - 1st
 Brazil 3rd - - 1st 2nd 1st 1st 2nd 2nd
 Chile - 4th 2nd - - - 3rd 1st P. round
 United States - 1st 4th - 4th P. round P. round - P. round
 England - 2nd 3rd 4th 3rd 4th 2nd P. round 4th
 Mexico 2nd - P. round 3rd - - 1st round 3rd P. round
 Australia 5th P. round - - P. round 2nd 1st round - P. round
 Italy - - - - - P. round - - 3rd
 Spain 4th - - - - - - 4th -
 France - P. round - - - - 4th - -
  Switzerland - P. round - P. round - - - - -
 Guatemala - - P. round - P. round - - - -
 India - - - P. round - P. round - - P. round
 Canada - - - - - P. round - P. round -
 Germany - P. round - - - - - - -
 Pakistan - - - - - - P. round - P. round
 New Zealand - - - - - - - P. round -
 South Africa - - - - - - - P. round -

External links[edit]

References[edit]