(Tommy Collingwood is a
Wellington-based 4-goal polo player and a regular at the International Polo
Club who is competing with the United States team in the 2013 24-goal Fortune
Heights Super Nations Cup in China this week.
He will be sending updates on the team’s progress.)
Arrived to Beijing- the time change killed me the first day. I was basically falling asleep at
dinner. Joel Baker (team coach and
alternate) didn’t even make it to dinner because he passed out from the flight.
The following day I woke up early and had breakfast with a
bunch of the guys from the Argentine team, along with former 9-goaler Benjamin
Araya, who is in charge of organizing the horses, and Henry Fisher of the
They gave us a tour of the club and stables. They have one field right now that we will be
using, and two other fields in the works that they said they should be ready in
the next year or two.
The Tianjin Goldin Metropolitan Polo Club is
impressive. The stables are unbelievable! They have an amazing organization- 202 horses;
between 4 and 5 grooms for every 15 horses; a full time veterinarian; 6
different farriers! The horses are
treated amazingly, and their outdoor arena has unbelievable footing-which is
where we tried the horses.
Yesterday we had our team practice. We had to play without Nic Roldan (8), who
will be arriving this evening. We
played with Joel Baker (2), which was a huge difference, but we did very
well. We practiced against England. They are a very well organized team, and
should not be underestimated. The field
is not in great shape. It is very
difficult to hit the ball on it. It
seemed to be pretty beaten up, but we’re all going to be playing on the same
surface. It’s an adjustment that we are
going to have to make.
Everything else is great.
The referees are very good. One
is from South Africa (Steve Evans); one is from England (Peter Wright); and one
from Argentina (Ricardo Boudou).
We are going to go watch the practice today between Argentina-Martin
Pepa (5), Marianito Obregon (7), Michel Dorignac (7) and Martin Donovan (5) and
an international contingent that will represent Hong Kong- Australian Dirk
Gould (5), Brazil’s Joao Ganon (7), New Zealand’s John-Paul Clarkin (8), and
John Fisher (4) from the UK, which should be good. Tomorrow we play England- Henry Fisher (4);
Mark Tomlinson (7); Luke Tomlinson (7) and Nacho Gonzalez (6). I feel good about our chances. Ulysses (Escapite-4-goals) and Mike (Azzaro-8-goals)
look really good, and the team chemistry is amazing. Everyone kills for each
other so we should do well. We just have
to keep our concentration and stay disciplined.