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Posted March 22 1999

FIP general assembly date set

The next general assembly of the FIP, the International Polo Federation, will take place in the IOC headquarters, ch‚teau de Vidy, in Lausanne on 13 April 1999.


Posted November 9 1998

Horses donated for USA

For the 1998 World Polo Championship organized in USA, 60 donors of the host country graciously loaned more than 150 of their horses


Posted November 4 1998

"Highlight of the 1998 World Polo Championship"

The Video, "Highlight of the 1998 World Polo Championship", is now available from FIP world championship site online store at


Posted October 26 1998

World Polo Championship 2001

The next FIP World Polo Championship will take place in Australia in 2001.


Posted September 1 1998

Argentina defeats Brazil 13-8 to win 1998 FIP World Polo Championship

By Richard Foxx

When Pablo Spinacci sank a neck shot withthree minutes to go in the last chukker of the 1998 FIP World Polo Championship, it made the score 12 - 7. More importantly, it seemed to take the wind out of the Brazilian squad that had been playing catch up through most of the match, and making you believe, from the intensity of their play, that they were only a lucky bounce here, or a made penalty shot there away from winning. From then on, in spite of a perfect goal by 5-goaler Calao Mello, Argentina's march to erase its 1995 loss to Brazil was inexorable, and the final score of Argentina 13, Brazil 8, became almost a foregone conclusion.

Argentina had played the entire tournament undefeated, beating Australia, Brazil, and the US in the process. They had appeared in two configurations, and Coach Daniel Gonzalez had kept their final line-up on the last day of the tournament a secret until 11am. He finally elected to go with Lucas Labat, 3 goals, 4 goaler Pablo Spinacci, Gerardo Collardin, 4 goals, and Ramiro Guinazu, 3 goals. Brazil, the defending champion, lined-up with Luis Bastos, a 3-goaler, at Number One, 1995 FIP World Polo Championship veteran Olavo Novaes, 4 goals, at number two, Angelo Bastos, 5-goals, at three, and Mello, the other World Championship veteran, at Back. After the rating adjustments that had been made prior to the tournament, that gave the Brazilian team a total rating of 17 goals and meant they would have to spot the Argies three goals to start.

Spinacci drew first blood before the record setting crowd of more than 8,000 had a chance to warm their seats, and Brazil found themselves on the wrong end of a 4 - 0 score. Two more goals by Spinacci were answered by two from Mello, but at the end of the first chukker, the defending champs were down 6 - 2.

The Brazilian strategy was to keep the Argentines from playing their brand of wide-open hitting polo, but it worked only part of the time. Their best chance came in the fourth chukker. Starting with a six goal deficit, and the score 9 - 3, they held the Argies scoreless but were unable to capitalise on their magnificent defence.

Play was intense and physical on both sides. Mello was unhorsed early in the game but shook it off and continued, seeming none the worse for it after the game. At half time, Spinacci was experiencing a muscle spasm in his mallet arm, but some judicious massage and encouragement from his team-mates seemed to alleviate the pain. He played on until the fifth period when he had to come off the field briefly. Brazil's Angelo Bastos was hit by a mallet in the right leg in the fifth chukker and again play stopped. He seemed to ignore it, but was limping significantly at the trophy presentation. "What can you do?" he shrugged to a questioner, "It's part of the game."

Mello rallied his Brazilians time and again, but in the end, the Argies dominated. Pablo Spinacci was high scorer, with five goals, and Mello high scorer for Brazil, with three.

Calao Mello was awarded the coveted Most Valuable Player trophy for his sparkling on field leadership and strong defensive play. Best Playing Pony honours went to Montera, a mare owned and donated by Tournament Executive Director Patrick Nesbitt.

For the first time in 62 years, the winning team was presented with a trophy by the International Olympic Committee, the IOC President's Trophy. It is hoped that after the magnificent showing of international competition that took place at Santa Barbara Polo Club, polo will once again rejoin the ranks of Olympic sports.


Posted August 31 1998

Polo World Championship semi-finals

England and Brazil came in to the semi-finals of the 1998 FIP World Polo Championship with two different styles of play but with one overwhelming intention advancing to the finals of the tournament. The result was one of the most intense polo games played during the tournament. The match at Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club in Carpinteria, California, on Friday, August 28, 1998, saw a passionate Brazilian foursome compete against the cool polo machine that was the English team.

England had earned its place in the semi-finals with an undefeated record during the tournament, while Brazilís only defeat was at the hands of old rival Argentina. Brazil fielded the team that had performed so well in the past, Luis Paulo Bastos, 3-goals, at Number One, World Polo Championship veteran Olavo Novaes at Number Two, and 4-goals, Angelo Bastos, 5-goals, at Number Three, And Calao Mello at Back, also a 1995 World Polo Champion veteran. England lined up with Malcolm Borwick, 3-goals, at Number One, Will Hine, 5-goals, at Number Two, Jason Dixon, 6-goals, at Number Three, and James Beim, 1-goal, at Back.

England carried a two goal handicap advantage into the game and when the first chukker was over, maintained that lead on goals by Hine and Beim to counter goals by Luis Bastos and Novaes. Early on, Mello had said that the key to victory was getting the front of his team to score, and he stuck to that strategy in spite of three unanswered goals by the English in the second chukker to make the score 7 - 2 in favour of the Brits. Novaes and Angelo Bastos opened up in the third, and when Luis Bastos put an amazing four goals on the board in the fourth, the score was tied at 9 - 9.

Novaes scored three times in the fifth to counter two goals by England and the result was a tenuous one goal lead for Brazil. Then, with the game still ready to shift either way, Brazil saw one goal shot bounce off a goal post and one penalty shot deflected. The force seemed to be with the English, but then Mello, the captain, put the game away at last with an incredible neck shot that travelled backwards about 70 yards to score. The air seemed to go out of the usually unflappable Brits then, and a final goal by Angelo Bastos was almost anticlimactic.

When the smoke cleared, Brazil had a 14 - 11 victory, and a place in the finals against the winner of the game that would follow.

Best Playing Pony was Navidad, a 6 year old mare owned by Mac Jason and played by Angelo Bastos. High-scoring player honours were split between Luis Bastos, and Olavo Novaes, for Brazil, each with five goals.


Game 8: Argentina vs. US Argentina 10 - US 3

Team USA shuffled their line-up again, hoping to gain an advantage against the mighty Argentines in the second game of the semi-finals of the 1998 World Polo Championship on Friday, August 28, 1998 at Californiaís Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club. Replacing Carlucho Arellano with Tony Vita, a 4-goal player, they kept Billy Sheldon, 1-goal, at Number One, Jeff Hall, 4-goals, at Number Three, and Andy Busch, 5-goals, at Back. The Argentines came out with Lucas Labat, 3-goals, at One, Pablo Spinacci, 4-goals, at Two, Gerardo Collardin, 4-goals, at Three, and Ramiro Guinazu, 3-goals, at Back. Both teams rated fourteen goals.

The US team seemed initially strong, and played a masterful game of defence in the first two chukkers. The result was a 2 - 2 tie and a sense by the home team that victory was possible. But the Argentines shifted the momentum in the third, fourth, and fifth, holding the US. scoreless and putting five on the board.

From then on, it was Argentina all the way, the only suspense being in how much the margin of victory would be. Collardin was high-scorer with four goals for the Argentines, while Busch and Hall were held scoreless for the Americans. Hall had been high-scorer in the game with Guatemala. The final score of 10 - 3 sent Argentina into the finals on Sunday, August 30, 1998, against Brazil, setting up a rematch of what many feel was one of the best and most emotionally charged games played in the 15 year history of the World Polo Championship.

Best Playing Pony was Sola, an 8 year old gelding owned by Jake Jacobsen and played by Argentine player Gerardo Collardin. High-scorer was Collardin, for Argentina, with four goals.

The Finals will be played at 3 PM on Sunday, August 30, 1998, between Brazil and Argentina. Pre-game ceremonies will begin at 2 PM.

The Reserve Championship game will be played at San Diego Polo Club between the US and England at 1 PM on Saturday, August 29, 1998.


Posted August 26 1998

Argentina secure victory in grudge match

In what was widely billed as a grudge match between the teams that had fought down to the wire for the World Polo Championship in 1995, in St. Moritz, Brazil faced Argentina on Sunday, August 23, 1998, at California's Santa Barbara Polo Club. This was Argentina's first appearance in this World Championship; Brazil had soundly defeated Australia in their first appearance two days before.

Once again, the Brazilian foursome was powered by 1995 World Polo Championship veteran Luis Carlos (Calao) Figueria de Mello, a 4-goal player, who put four goals on the field in style. It was not enough, however, to overcome the three goal advantage the Brazilians had to give, and the Argentines went on to win by a score of 12 - 9.

Pablo Spinacci, and Gerardo Collardin, both 4-goalers, each scored four goals for Argentina to match Mello's total. After their brilliant performance on Friday, however, the Brazilians did not seem able to come up with the emotion necessary to overcome the canny Argentines who picked the Brazil offence apart like experienced safecrackers.

Argentina's victory leaves the final placement of the teams in Group B in doubt until the game on Wednesday, August 26. Argentina will play Australia at 3 PM, and the U.S. will play Guatemala at 1 PM.

Best Playing Pony honours in the day's match went to Cowboy, an 8 year old gelding played by Mello, and owned by Kurt Briggs.

The attendance of 7,000 - plus was thought to have set a U.S. record for number of spectators at a polo match since the war years.

Meanwhile, after three days of anticipation, after endless hours of practice, the U.S. finally got into the action at the Championship when they faced England for Game 3 at 1 PM. A crowd reliably estimated at over 7,000 watched as England, fresh from a 12 - 7 victory over Guatemala in Game 1 on Friday, played a superb defensive game that erased the two goal advantage the U.S. had by the second period. The points had been awarded to the U.S. team on handicap. The English went on to win by a score of 10 - 5.

"Our strategy was to play defensively until we had tied it." Said Jason Dixon, the 6-goal English captain after the game. Marcam Borwick, the 3-goal player that was high-scorer against Guatemala, put the tying goal through and made the score 2 - 2 as the second period wound down.

"From then on," Dixon said, "we could open the game up." And that's just what they did, with Borwick scoring four goals and gaining high-scoring honours once again.

The U.S. seemed restrained at first, playing stiffly, and the team was held scoreless until Jeff Hall, a 4-goaler, scored in the third chukker. Captain Andy Busch, 5-goals, didn't break through for a goal until the fifth period. Hall followed with another for the total U.S. scoring. The result reflected a balanced English attack that seemed to extract an extra rap of speed from their horses whenever it was necessary.

England's victory set up their appearance in the semi-finals scheduled for Friday, August 28, 1998.

Best Playing Pony honours went to Texas, a 6 year old bay gelding played by England's Borwick and loaned to the tournament by Carlos Galindo.


Posted August 23 1998

Polo World Championships begin

The 1998 FIP World Polo Championship began on 21 August with perfect weather before a crowd of more than 1,000. Opening ceremonies at midday featured a parade by the players and ponies.

In the first game, England defeated Guatemala by a score of 12 - 7, overcoming a 4 goal handicap advantage. Marcam Borwick, 3-goals, was high-scorer with five goals, all on penalties. For Guatemala, high-scorer was Emmanuel Seidner with three, also on penalties.

In the second game, Brazil triumphed over Australia by a score of 13 - 9. Despite being a three goal underdog, Brazil tied the score by the third chukker and never looked back. High-scorer for Brazil was Luis Carlos Figueria de Mello, with five goals. No Brazilian player scored less than two goals. Australian Jack Bailleau, MVP in the Zone playoffs, was team high-scorer here with four goals.

Best playing ponies were Dixie, donated by F.D. Walton, and Caruba, donated by Miguel Torres. Play resumes on 23 August with a game between England and the U.S. at 1PM, and Brazil and Argentina at 3 PM.


Posted July 24 1998

FIP World Polo Championship - Six teams for the Final Round

Six teams have obtained their qualification for the FIPís 5th World Polo Championship which will take place from 17th to 30th August 1998 in Santa barbara, California (USA) : USA, team of the host country, BRA, holder, England, Argentina, Australia and Guatemala.


Posted April 30 1998

Ticket and Hotel Information for World Championship

Tickets for the World Championship go on sale May 1. For out of town or out of state orders, individual tickets can also be ordered and charged to your credit card and mailed 1-888-ETM - TIXS. Get a free 80-page color Destination Guide on Southern California by calling 1-800-678-1266 or send a fax to 805-966-1728 at the Santa Barbara Tourist Information Center.

See the latest issue of FIP newsletter for more hotel details.


Glen Holden elected president of FIP

Glen Holden (USA) was unanimously elected to the presidency of the FIP at the last General Assembly held in mid-March in Santiago de Chili. He succeeds Marcos Uranga (ARG), the founder of FIP and president since 1983. One vice-president, Luis Valdes (ESP) was re-confirmed and two others were elected: Jorge Dupont (ARG) and Peter Yunghanns (AUS). The current treasurer Eduardo Novillo (ARG) was re-confirmed as was Michael Schultz-Tholen (GER) as IOC and GAISF liaison.


Polo recognized by IOC

Olympic recognition was awarded to the FIP at the IOC session in Atlanta.


New International Game

The FIP Executive Council approved the organisation in March or April 1997 of a new international 10-14 handicap tournament with the provision of a pool of ponies for all the teams.


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