Johannesburg, April 10: With great anticipation, the Inanda Club announces the Inanda Polo International SA vs Argentina match to be played on Saturday, 11 May 2019, marking the peak of the South African polo season, headlined by AON South Africa.
This event is a highlight on the sport and entertainment calendar and spectators can look forward to a match that promises to reignite the age-old rivalry between the best of South Africa and Argentine polo; The game set against the spectacular backdrop of Jozi’s business hub, Sandton will be played at intense high speed, requiring peak athletic conditioning of both horse and rider.
Polo, the oldest of Equestrian Sports, a game of Central Asian origin, was first played in Persia (Iran) at dates given from the 6th century BC to the 1st century AD.
Polo, or “The Sport of Kings,” as it is often referred, is frequently thought of as something that extremely wealthy people do for fun. And it is. But it also has a fascinating history, especially in an Argentine context.
In terms of sports in Argentina, you might think of soccer or rugby initially. Polo is perhaps not the first thing that would come to mind. You might think of British high-society and the royal family when you think of polo, but what you may not know is that Argentina is the top ranked country globally for participants of this elegant sport and has the highest ranked players in the world, including the top player, Adolfito Cambiaso.
Craig James, the Inanda Club Polo Manager reflects, “Polo as an International sport has brought together many players from different countries, each with different dynamics to the game. The family’s relationship with SA and Argentine polo dates back from the early 1950s, when the Coronel Suárez team played against SA.”
Today, the level of play and the amount of polo being played in Argentina is higher than ever in the game’s history, generating rapid global expansion in participation and spectatorship. Indeed, in the current world rankings nine of the top 10 players are Argentinean, as are 15 of the top 20. While polo in South Africa may have an elitist image, in Argentina it is a populist sport, with big matches attracting large crowds and being broadcast live on global television.
This year the stakes are high as the final game of the 2018 Inanda Invitational saw the Inanda Club team defeat the Argentine Coronel Suarez Polo Club team, by a 5-7 lead, in a one hour and 30-minute action packed match.
The Inanda Polo International SA vs Argentina takes place in May, an important month in the Argentine calendar as it celebrates Revolution Day, which marks the anniversary of the first independent government in Buenos Aires.
“With enthusiasm, we welcome AON South Africa on board as not just the headline sponsor for the 2019 Inanda Polo International, but a partner to Development Polo and its young and novice players who will shine in the curtain raiser of the Inanda Polo International”, said Paul Oosthuizen, Inanda Club General Manager.
By Ziyanda Yono