Bigger SEA Polo Open on horizon
MANILA, Philippines — Globalport owner Mikee Romero is targeting a bigger polo tournament among Southeast Asian teams following the successful run of the recent Philippine Polo Open 2014.
Romero said at least two countries may vouch for the tournament after seeing the Open’s inaugural staging, where San Miguel Philippines topped five other teams from five countries in a week-long event held in polo fields in Calatagan, Batangas, and Makati.
“I want to push for a Southeast Asian polo championship,” said Romero.
“I think other countries like Thailand and Malaysia will also push for this tournament.”
Romero said he plans to bring more teams after the Open hosted players from the United States, China, Brunei, Thailand and professionals from Argentina and New Zealand. “We’re looking at eight to 10 teams,” said Romero.
“We showed that the Philippines can host an international tournament very well.”
Some of the foreign players like Liu Shilai, one of China’s polo stars and the founder of Tang Polo Club in Beijing, said the country is capable of staging a bigger event.
“It’s my first time in the Philippines and I’m very happy,” said Shilai. “The field is fantastic and the host is very good.
But I’m more happy to see that polo is growing in the Philippines and in Asia. We want to come here every year.”
The Open also showcased some of the best local talents, led by Iñigo Zobel and promising 13-year-old player Tommy Bitong, who teamed up with foreign pros Juan Jauretche and Sam Hunt in powering San Miguel past Globalport, 9-4, in the finals last Sunday.
Romero hopes the Open’s annual staging will encourage more Filipinos to try the sport.
“My goal is to promote polo in the Philippines and show that it’s not a sport for the elite,” said Romero.
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