France Wins the Battle of the Nations St Moritz World Cup 2011
After four days of taut sporting nerves, France carries off the victor's trophy at the 27th St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow. This weekend, the encounter of top-notch teams representing France, England, Germany and Switzerland drew more than 15,000 polo fans and interested onlookers to Lake St. Moritz. England took second place, while Switzerland and Germany came in third and fourth. Reconfigured as a Nations Cup, the tournament met a rapturous reception from spectators and players alike. The organizers of the world's best-known polo tournament on snow take this as endorsement of their new departure. They are already planning the 28th St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow.
The 27th St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow drew to its climax with a victory for the French team and its patron François le Barazer. More than 15,000 spectators have watched thrilling, high-class polo matches on the frozen Lake St. Moritz over the past four days. Patron Vivek Rawal's English team took second place in the tournament, while places three and four went to Switzerland (patron Philipp Maeder) and Germany (patron Thomas Wolfensberger). Anyway, there were no losers on Lake St. Moritz. A sponsor's trophy was contested at each match, and the total value of prizes awarded exceeds CHF 100,000. The resonance generated by the new way "Nations Cup" version of the St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow has exceeded all the organizers' expectations. The players, too, were emphatic in their endorsement of the new concept, as the patron of the Swiss team, Philipp Maeder, confirmed: "It's always a great experience to play here, but the new format involves the spectators even more closely an enables them to spur on "their team", creating a fantastic atmosphere in the stands that naturally also inspires the players!"
Fiercely fought final
Following a breathtakingly tense final played out under blazing sunshine, France succeeded in winning the Trophy of the 27th St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow. The match result was decided in the final few minutes, when a goal by Nacho Gonzalez, who later also went on to be named Player of the Tournament, put the French team ahead on 5:4. Team colleague Oscar Mancini commented: "I'm delighted to have won, but we had to fought hard for thi victory. We played well in the frost half, and it wasn't until England caught up that we started to worry. It took all our efforts to secure victory. It was a fiercely fought but fantastic final." Despite its excellence performance the Swiss team did not quite make it to the final, but won its final game against Germany to secure third place.
New era dawns for St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow
The success of the 27th St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow endorses the organizers' chosen way forward. St. Moritz Polo AG's CEO Heinz Reber notes, "This tournament was a kind of prototype for us. Of course we are delighted at the highly positive feedback, which inspires us on into the future. Certainly there will be further improvements and individual adjustments. But, overall, it can safely be said: this tournament is now going into production" There is no respite after the months of intensive preparation. St. Moritz Polo AG is already planning the 28th St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow. Talks are under way with potential sponsors and nations interested in next year's tournament. Russia, the USA, the United Arab Emirates and a European country have evinced keen interest in participating.
Sustainable and locally based
Working jointly with the White Turf organisers and the local authority, St. Moritz Polo AG implemented a new transport and infrastructure plan this year. There is less equipment on the lake, energy and costs have been saved, and public parking has been shifted from the lake. These are the results of cooperation which was not always easy at the start, but which has now borne excellent fruit. The energy plan, implemented jointly with photovoltaic specialist Tritec, has provided solar-powered exterior lighting, while only one tent on the whole laketop has been heated. This formed part of the sustainability plan devised a year ago, which the organisers promise to refine further in future. As in winter 2010, the hospitality area successfully focused on involving local partners under the motto "Engadin/Graubünden". Images from Alois Cariget's "Schellen-Ursli" lent charm and atmosphere to the decor. Culinary treats for visitors included regional specialities served by Reto Mathis and his crew in the Hospitality Tent.
Pony welfare a priority
Lead players and secret stars of the tournament were the polo ponies. As every year, their well-being was top of the organisers' priority list. New stabling, erected in 2010, meets the latest animal accommodation standards. In addition to grooms and vets, a specialist physiotherapist looked after the health of these valuable animals during the strenuous matches. As top athletes (which is what these ponies are), they deserve nothing but the optimum support.