India trump Argentina in Buenos Aires polo match

Thursday, November 18, 2010

BUENOS AIRES - India emerged victorious against Argentina in a match organised by the Indian embassy here, bringing the curtains down on the Festival of India.

The friendly match was held Tuesday as a grand finale to the Third Festival of India that was held Nov 4-16.

The festival included dance and music performances, seminars, literary contests, handicraft exihibition by 50 Indian companies, live demonstration of handicrafts by seven artisans plus an astrologer with a laptop, film festival, photo and painting exihibitions and a golf tournament.

A business seminar was organised Nov 16 with 250 Argentine businessmen and 45 members of Confederation of Indian Industry participating in it.

The polo match was the highlight of the festival.

The Indian players were Shamsheer Ali (handicap 6), Syed Bashir Ali (6), Satinder Garcha (2) and Bhawani Kalvi (2).

The Argentine players were Jorge Donovan (6), Alberto Zubiaurre jr (5), Raul Pastorini (2) and Felipe Miguel (2).

India was trailing 0-3 in the first chucker and 2-3 in the second chucker. India took the lead in the third chucker 5-4 and maintained the lead through the six chuckers. The credit goes to Shamsheer Ali, India’s number one polo player.

The Ali brothers are based here for about four months every year and they have a permanent stable with their own horses.

The other player who contributed to the victory is Satinder Garcha, an Indian enterpreneur living in Singapore and who is here for this polo season to improve his handicap of two.

Satinder has his own team called Elevation, which beat Argentine team Ellerstina in the Gold Cup Nov 7. On that day Satinder, who is establishing in Buenos Aires a stable with his own horses and manager, played like a 4-5 handicapper.

Satinder is part of the international polo jet-set and plays tournaments in many countries including India, Singapore, Thailand and Britain. He has his own polo team in Jaipur. He hires Argentine players to play for his team.

The embassy gave away trophies to the winners and runners-up.

Argentina is the undisputed leader of polo in the world. Argentina has, at this moment, 11 ten handicap players out of the twelve in the world. All the top 30 ranked players of the world are Argentines except for the sixth ranked Uruguyan David Stirling.

While Argentina has perfected the game, it was born in India. The modern game of polo originates from Manipur in India. The first polo club was established in the town of Silchar in Assam in 1834.

The British took the game from India to Britain, Europe and Americas and popularised them.

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