Russian Polo Open 2011
On the weekend of the 20th – 21st August, four teams competed for the title of Russian Open champion (an official event of the Federation of Russian Polo Players) which featured members of both the Moscow Polo Club and the President’s Club.
The weather was better than the forecast and field conditions were near perfect for the tournament – while Moscow city center was deluged with rain, the polo club basked in the late summer sunshine!
On Saturday, both of the preliminary matches were decided by a single goal and the score in each case was 4-3. Beluga beat Ahmad Tea and Range Rover triumphed over the Moscow Polo Club team.
Sunday’s activities commenced with a short demonstration and introduction to polo by one of the club’s 2 Argentine professionals, 4 goaler Hernan Traverso.
The Final between Beluga and Range Rover was an exciting affair, with the score tied at 2 all after two chukkas of play. In the third chukka, the combination of Alejandro Traverso at back and the aggressive Misha Rodzianko (Russia’s highest handicapped player) at 3 was too much for the pair of Estrada and Busquet. Up front, Anastasia and Alexis Rodzianko fought the Range Rover team to a standstill and that was enough to carry the day 5-2.
The game seemed closer than the score would suggest, with end-to-end runs by both teams. However, the Beluga team seemed to have the edge in horsepower in the later chukkas.
Team Beluga 6 goals (Russian Open Champions)
Alejandro Traverso 5
Misha Rodzianko 2
Anastasia Rodzianko 0
Alexis Rodzianko -1
Team Range Rover 6 goals (Runners Up)
Martin Estrada 3
Carlos Busquet 3
Victor Huaco 0
Anastasia Huaco 0
Zhanna Bandurko -1
Team Ahmad Tea 2 goals (Third place)
Egor Zaostrovtsev -1
Pavel Isaev -1
Evgeniy Ovcharov 0
Hernan Traverso 4
Moscow Polo Club 4 goals (Winners of the “Wooden Spoon”)
Raya Sidorenko -1
David Geovanis 1
Silvio Coutino 1
Celestino Rivera 3
Azul won Best Playing Pony, but another star of the show was Gisa, a 9 year old Ahkal Teke (rare and ancient breed from Turkmenistan) who was an endurance champion at 30, 60, and 90 kilometers before “turning his hoof” to polo. The breed is famous for its endurance, as shown in 1935 when a group of Turkmen rode 2,500 miles from Ashgabat to Moscow in 84 days, including a three-day crossing of 235 miles of desert without water.
The end of the day was celebrated with lots of champagne and Beluga cocktails and it looks like some of the Russian players should be upgraded at the end of the 2011 season.
Highlights from the Russian Open were shown on the national Russian Sports channel on Sunday evening and there was also a report on the English-language Russia Today channel, delivering an enviable TV audience of over 3 million viewers for the event!