From September 5th to 7th, the Equestrian Federation of Azerbaijan Republic (ARAF), World Polo and the Bina Elite Horse and Polo Club have presented the second edition of the Grass Arena Polo World Cup Azerbaijan at the capital city of Azerbaijan, Baku. Yesterday a press conference for the team and tournament presentation took place at the Kempinski Hotel Badamdar in Baku.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Elchin Guliyev, the President of Equestrian Federation of Azerbaijan, spoke of the successes of the First World Cup held in Baku, stressed the state attention and care for sports in the country.
Four professional teams participate in the tournament, sponsored by world famous brands such as Chopard, Baltika 7, Maserati and Embawood. La Martina will be the official supplier. The polo teams are from Argentina, the US, Europe and also from Azerbaijan, the Azeri polo team being formed by former Chovgan players. Chovgan is an ancient form of polo and is still played in Azerbaijan today.
The newly formed Azeri polo team has been professionally trained by the polo coaches of the La Alegría Polo Farm in Buenos Aires. Adrian Laplacette was the head coach, while his brother Raul La-placette resided in Azerbaijan through the whole training period monitoring the team, they were com-plemented by Thomas Winter, who acted as polo teacher. The two brothers prepared the Azeri team for the World Cup 2014 in Baku. While having a talk with Raul Laplacette about the experience he told POLO+10: “I spent five months in Azerbaijan living with the former Chovgan players and teaching them the polo rules. A translator helped us, because the players did not know English before, now they are learning as well. We started with 13 players, and only 6 remained, they made great progress and can really play good polo. This was a great experience and we worked a lot, breaking cultural barriers, learn-ing the polo rules, and even a new language. These players have made a great effort, and now they have become highly competitive proper polo players”.
The event was held at the Bina Horse Center, where a completely new polo arena with modern lighting systems and polo facilities including 40 horseboxes has been built.
Azerbaijan is a member of the World Polo Association FIP since last December. Under the leadership of the Equestrian Federation of Azerbaijan Republic and its Vice-President Mr Ahadpur Khangah, polo is developing into a countrywide known sport in Azerbaijan.
World Polo GmbH Zürich, ARAF, Elite Horse Polo Club and Tatyana Sulzenbacher from Aztexnika Baku are responsible for the organization and production of the event.