BUENOS AIRES – With a final score of 6-2, the Argentine Team bested Team United States, one of the world’s favorites in this sport, taking advantage of playing at their home field, Campo Argentino de Polo, in Palermo.
Players were moved to tears celebrating not only the title, but the giant step to popularize this elite sport in its female version. As is the tradition in Argentina, free tickets were offered to viewers, who filled the “Catedral” stadium.
“For the team, it’s something impressive, I can’t even describe it,” Argentine player Paulina Vasquetto told The Associated Press, recounting her impression of winning the championship. Third place went to the United Kingdom, which beat Italy on Saturday.
Many of the players who fought during the last week on the pitch especially celebrated all the personal and collective battles they had to win to make this World Cup possible in a sport traditionally considered for men.
Argentina, United States, England, Ireland, Brazil and Italy were all represented and participated in the world debut in a venue considered the home of this discipline in the country, Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires.
Team USA's captain Erica Gandomcar-Sachs reflected on the experience, from assembling her team to playing in the final. "It doesn't feel like a loss; it feels like a wine - a win for the advancement of women's polo." Gandomcar-Sachs has been instrumental in the organization of women's polo on the international scene, but she said to have had the support of both the AAP (Argentine Association of Polo) and FIP (Federation Internationale de Polo) for the Campeonato Mundial de Polo Femenino solidified it's importance and perpetuity.
The UK team, which placed third overall, fought fiercely on the polo fields of Palermo. “It is impressive to come to play in Palermo in a championship that has made history. The privilege I’ve had to play with this incredible team, play with some of the best women in the world,” English polo player Fran Townend. “It has been the most wonderful experience,” she added, recalling the strength of the United Kingdom as a team, along with the United States and Argentina, the strongest in the world in women’s polo.
She only regretted that her team could not reach the final, which would have been an even greater achievement for her.
“I would like to think that this tournament marks the launch of polo for women so that it is seen more globally, to have more time on television channels or streaming, to have more coverage in the press, especially in the English press that does not cover much of the female side of the sport. The men’s version always stands out more, so that globally we would see more tournaments like this around the world… with more teams on different continents.”
Gandomcar-Sachs echoed the sentiment and pointed out the importance of the cup being played in Argentina. "In the world of polo, what happens in Argentina will be repeated all over the world."