Five teams, with 24 international ladies, disputed the 2016 Zürich International Ladies Polo Cup last weekend in Polo Park & Country Club Zürich.
The 17th edition of the Ladies Cup in Zürich had strong support from different sponsors: Eterna, Piaget, Performance Polo, Asia Spa, The Extreme Collection, Plaza Hotel, Restaurant Hato, Dubai Polo Academy, La Martina, Adastra, Polo +10, Blumen Kramer, Lalique, Art Boutique Hotel Monopol, Domaines Jean-Luc & Paul Aegerter, Claudia Atencio, Hotel Mirador, Doppelleu, La Mer, and Lindt.
An impeccable organization and a friendly atmosphere made this tournament run smoothly and let local and foreign players enjoy their time, play good polo, and have fun.
On Saturday, there were two qualification games between teams Aegerter and Eterna first, followed by a round-robin (three teams against each other) among teams Les Jolies Filles, Piaget, and Hato. Not even the rain stopped the ladies to fight for a place in the final. Teams Eterna and Les Jolies Filles qualified for the final on Sunday.
In the evening, Sunny Hale, widely recognized among her peers as the most accomplished and well-respected female polo player in the world, made a motivational conference that was well-attended by men, women, and children alike. Her fascinating story and how she managed to compete with the best male players in the world was an amazing lesson to all who aspire to get better in polo, or generally in life, but sometimes think that the dice are loaded against them, or that it is simply not possible. Her message was simple—it is always possible, against all odds. “Look at me!” she says. This speech was followed by an exquisite dinner in the Restaurant Bloom Winterthur.
On Sunday, the players and spectators woke up to beautiful sunshine. The nice weather and the great mix of social and sports events captured the attention of guests and spectators that came to watch and enjoy the ladies’ tournament. A lot of the focus was on the new stables and clubhouse built at Polo Park Zurich. The club was founded in 1998 by Markus Gräff, in a location within Canton Zurich, near the city of Winterthur, very close to the airport of Zurich. Despite being only a few minutes from the motorway, the location of the polo club is truly spectacular, with rolling hills in the background covered in vines or vegetables. The atmosphere is very serene, and one feels very peaceful there, which allows players to focus on polo. The club offers polo for everyone—beginners, children, ladies, and polo players can enjoy low, medium, or high-goal thanks to the presence of about ten resident polo professionals from handicaps 2 to 6.
The club organizes about 14 tournaments per year, and plays polo daily (except Mondays) on their two polo fields, under the supervision of polo manager Francisco Podesta. The club has about 120 members, coordinates the use of over 200 polo ponies, and plays on average 650 chukkas per year. A few years ago, the club was sold to Sébastien Le Page, who took the Polo club to new levels by building top of the art stables that can care for 57 horses right near the field, and a clubhouse boasting an automated water system for the horses, copper pipes, special ground for horses to sleep and walk on, an automatic walker for the horses, washing machines, multiple tack rooms, a bar, showers, toilets and changing rooms with storage lockers for ladies, and a separate one for gentlemen, a lounge and deck, a fireplace, a mallet room, and storage rooms—all this on the ground floor. On the first floor, there are nine large apartments. On the top floor, there is space for another 12 apartments. The roof is covered in photovoltaic panels to have ecological energy. The addition of two large parking areas large enough to allow horse trucks with trailers to maneuver completes the set. It is in these beautiful surroundings that the finals of the Zurich International Ladies Polo Cup were played.
For the third place, Teams Hato, Aegerter, and Piaget played once again a round-robin, with the victory for Team Hato.
Both finalists from Saturday played against each other for the trophy. They offered a great game, with nice runs and a lot of goals.
Eterna was a fair winner, showing solid skills and an open game. Irene Gräff from Team Eterna got the MVP prize, a very special saddle donated by Performance Polo.
With the final bell, the ladies’ cup came to an end. But the social event continued at the Diamond Lounge with the exciting presence of Sunny Hale. An exquisite lunch followed, as well as the prize-giving ceremony (with many gifts for all the players, with at least eight prizes per lady!) and music to accompany the friendly atmosphere. Polo Park Zurich has already started to prepare the 2017 version.
Julika Keller (CH) / Jasmin Huber (CH)
Vera Kubick (D) / Natalie Weibel (CH)
Lucia Podesta (AR)
Irene Gräff (CH)
Les Jolies Filles:
Sibylle Grass (CH/D)
Aline Haerry (CH)
Sarah Bond (UK)
Viviane Sauter (CH)
Nathalie Wolfensberger (CH)
Belen Podesta (IT/AR)
Victoria Loraine (UK)
Veronica Podesta (AR)
Strub Girls (CH) / Diana Meierhofer
Melissa Quai (AUS)
Morgan Van Overbroek (B)
Laura Vuille (CH)
Susanna Jahn (A)
Isabelle Renckstorf (CH)
Danijela Grgic (CH)
Franka Vonholds (D)