14 teams, 350 polo ponies, 30 matches, 10 days of top-level competition
At the Villa a Sesta Polo Club, set in the heart of the Chianti region (Ripaltella Pietraviva), the organising committee for the FIP European Polo Championships-Quantocoin Cup is moving at full speed.
The first ‘chukka’ of these championships, the most anticipated event in the 2018 polo calendar for the Old Continent, will be played on Thursday, September 20th at 11 a.m. and, with the Italian and Spanish teams playing, adrenaline will be sky-high.
The first of the 350 polo ponies expected (each team travels with 25 ponies) have already arrived in Tuscany from Azerbaijan, Austria, Ireland, Slovakia and Switzerland. Very soon Villa a Sesta will welcome those coming from The Netherlands, Spain, France, and Germany. Italy, like France, Ireland and Germany, is also fielding a Ladies Polo Team to defend the title won last year at the first edition of the FIP European Ladies Championships in Chantilly.
The 2018 edition of the FIP European event is the first at which a Ladies Championship will be played on the same dates and at the same location as the classic version in which men and women can compete together, as happens in all equestrian sports. The programme for these championships, jointly organised by the International Federation of Polo (FIP), The Italian Equestrian Sports Federation (FISE) and the Villa a Sesta Polo Club (VAS), is quite intense and takes place over ten days but without matches being held every day.
Click here for the calendar for the two European Championships
There will be 30 matches played: 22 in the 12th edition of the FIP European Championship and 8 in the 2nd edition of the FIP European Ladies Championship. The second weekend of play will obviously be the decisive one, with the final qualifying matches in the two tournaments and the finals then played on Sunday, September 30th.
The Italian team fielded consists of ten players; Gualtiero Giori, Goffredo Cutinelli, Edoardo Ferrari, Giordano Magini, the Bertola brothers (Lucas and Matias), Giacomo Galantino, the brothers Nicolas and Bautista Lopes Fuentes and Martin Joaquin (the last three are Italian-Argentineans). Their coach is Eduardo Menedez.
The ladies team, coached by Franco Piazza, consists of the four defending champions; Ginevra D’Orazio, Costanza and Vittoria Marchiorello and Ginevra Visconti as well as the very young Alice Coria.
In 2011 the Villa a Sesta Polo Club became one of the top polo clubs in Europe thanks to the excellent organisation of the European Play Offs for the World Championships and is equipped with excellent facilities that include three international-sized polo fields (all in Tifton) and a practice field; they are all avant-garde both at a technical and organisational level.
For some time the Tuscan club has been the Italian headquarters for top-level Argentinean players such as, in particular, Francisco and Eduardo Menendez, who have for years been among the most competitive players at the most important tournaments.