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Joining the big leagues

On Tuesdays and Thursdays after Chascomús school let out, Alfredo Bigatti’s father, or sometimes his mother, took him to Open Door in Buenos Aires so that the teenager could practice polo at La Cañada club. Saturdays were different. Alfredo slept over near Open Door, in Pilar, to play again on Sunday and then return home. The week’s total: 1,200 kilometers every seven days for four training matches.

A fan of horses and breeding first, and polo second, Bigatti inherited his passion for horses from his father, who was involved in the equestrian world and introduced him to Gonzalo Bunge, a well-known polo referee. Bunge invited Bigatti, then a young boy, to learn how to play polo at Open Door. So he did, tracing and retracing 1,200 kilometers per week. Once he had his driver’s permit, he eased the task of the commute and drove himself. “To play polo, I did everything (it was) crazy, but it made me happy,” Bigatti said.

Bigatti, now 26 with a handicap of 7, debuted at the Argentine Open Championship, substituting for Eduardo Novillo Astrada. Bigatti had a good first half in the 13-10 match against Albertina on Court 1.

Although he frequented Open Door, he hardly knew the Novillo Astrada club. The link was formed this year when Bigatti planned to contest the Chamber of Deputies Cup for Las Monjitas. An injury affecting Eduardo, the soul of La Aguada, changed the plan. Bigatti joined a quartet that lost only a single official match in the season and was very close to eliminating then-champion Ellerstina, in Hurlingham. “I used to take a ticket to come and see polo,” he said. “I've done (that) my whole life, it's a little crazy. Now, as a player, I can give tickets to family and friends who come to support me," he said.

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