The World Series Polo, played this year in Australia, will crown a 2017 champion tomorrow 15 December in the coastal city of Adelaide. Haiti Polo Team is a strong contender for the championship title, having already faced and defeated Team Australia, whom they’ll fight for the title tomorrow.
Led by Team Captain Claude-Alix Bertrand, Haiti Polo Team has been in Australia for more than a month, playing polo in five cities over the course of five weeks for the World Series Polo. The series opened last month in Sydney, then advanced to Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and now Adelaide. Bertrand, a Haitian native, has been on the weekend cover of The West AAA Weekend Sports Edition, featured in The Polo Project magazine, The Advertiser and Vogue Australia, highlighted by E! News on the field sidelines, and interviewed with countless local and national media in the last month.
The largest Haitian-American blog platform, L’Union Suite, covers the successful tournament results intensely. On Wednesday, 13 December, the largest daily newspaper in Haiti, Le Nouvelliste, featured the team’s successes in its pages.
“Representing Haiti in the World Series Polo is a great honor,” said Team Captain Claude-Alix Bertrand. “Everywhere we go, people want to know about Haiti Polo Team, about Haiti, and about Haitian athletes.”
The series in Australia attracts tens of thousands of fans each weekend for the matches. With hospitality tents, fashion shows and competitions, divot-stomping and celebrity appearances, Haiti Polo Team is at the center of attention, bringing the focus back to Haiti, Haitian athletes, and sport and tourism in Haiti. Captain Bertrand is also UNESCO Ambassador Goodwill for Haiti, and has been representing tourism’s and sports’ interest for Haiti while on the tour in Australia.
The match in Brisbane, which saw Haiti Polo Team victorious over Team Australia, was called “the single most exciting polo match ever seen in Australia… a fight to the end,” by event organizer Janek Gazecki.
Because of the prestige and scope of the World Series Polo, Haiti Polo Team expanded the team roster to include South African Johann du Preez, Argentine Juan Arunga and Australians Ric McCarthy and Andrew Fraser-Scott. Du Preez, the first African member of Haiti Polo Team, is a three-goaler from Johannesburg and a third-generation polo player.
Arunga, a five-goaler, is of Argentine descent but lives and plays professionally in Australia. Arunga suffered a fall from a horse in the opening weekend tournament and has been sidelined in order to fully heal. McCarthy and Fraser-Scott, both live and play polo professionally in Australia round out the team members representing Haiti Polo Team in Australia for the World Series Polo. Original team members and brothers Francisco and Juan Pizarro are currently playing the end of the Argentine season in Cordoba.
Between matches, the team practices, rides and follows a strict fitness routine on the road. Functional Muscle Fitness, the training facility of Haiti Polo Team in Concord, California, prepares daily schedules and routines for the team. With four weeks of Australian tournaments and practice time together, Haiti Polo Team is well-positioned to add World Series Polo to the impressive list of major tournament wins.
Follow Haiti Polo Team: www.htpolo.com and World Series Polo: www.polointhecity.com