Intendente Alvear is a small Argentine town in the middle of La Pampa. That is where the Heguy family, one of the most important ones in polo history, has established itself. They organize a tournament every year in February, when temperatures gets as high as 40°C. As they have done in previous years, two very important English players decided to make the competition their first step in polo this year: James Beim and Ollie Cudmore.
“I haven’t done too much this year yet. I have been in La Pampa with Ruso Heguy playing the Chapaleufú Open, which is a great tournament and a high level. Polo in La Pampa has lots of history and it is an amazing way of life out there. It’s a lot of fun”, said James.
“I’ve been in La Pampa for 5 weeks staying with Ruso Heguy. Playing and training before playing for Garangula in Australia which I’m very excited for”, mentioned Ollie.
They both have clear goals for this year: “This year my main goals are to win as much as possible, improve my string and enjoy playing with friends. In the high goal I will play with El Remanso. In the 15 goal I will play with Snakebite and in the 12 goal I play for Gardenvale," stated James. Meanwhile, Ollie commented that "The main objective for the season in the UK as a team has to be to improve on last season and win either the Queens or Gold cup. Personally I’d like to improve again on a great 2017 and push to be 7 goals."
What was their performance in the tournament? Well, neither made it to the final, but just being in La Pampa playing in one of polo’s epicentres is enough.
James Beim said:
“For our sport to grow we need to come together and find solutions”
“English Polo is obviously having some difficulties at the moment. Our governing body have been communicating with the Home Office to Improve the visa situation. We need as many players/grooms/trainers/coaches of all levels and all nationalities playing in England. I hope we can find a solution with the Home Office to achieve this.
A lot of people are putting time into trying to improve this situation. For our sport to grow we need to come together and find solutions.
There is a strong belief these restrictions are imposed by the HPA. However the Home Office have imposed the restrictions on polo (and racing before), and the HPA has to comply. In my eyes they have done a good job to achieve various compromises thus far. Hopefully the Home Office will see that migrant workers are vital to the Polo Industry in the UK.”
Ollie Cudmore said:
“Playing in Argentina is crucial to improving”
“English polo is doing ok, I think the Queens and Gold cup are always going to lure a good number of teams because of the prestige of these competitions. There is a general trend around the world of less teams and patrons so something needs to be done about this. In terms of players coming through I think there are plenty of talented players but they need to realise that playing in Argentina is crucial to improving”.