One of the most beautiful tournaments of the European season starts in Chantilly this weekend. Nine teams, including one from Switzerland as well as one from Germany, will attend the Castel Cup – French Open and will play 25 matches until September 19th, day of the final.
There’s free access to all matches. For the less experienced audience a commentator will ensure a better understanding of this rapid and spectacular sport, one of the most ancient of all team sports.
The French Open has become a more and more coveted title. For this tenth edition, nine teams counting 36 players will represent six different nations. France, Germany, Norway, Switzerland represented by the captains (who assign their nationality to the team) and Argentina, Brazil and French represented by professional players. With three “handicap 8” and five “handicap 7” players this gathering will be one of high quality. The handicap determinates the level of a polo player and the closer he gets to 10, the closer he gets to the elite. A player with a handicap of 8, like Marcos di Paola playing for the Swiss team Marquard Media, hence belongs to the world’s 25 best players. Like Di Paola, whose talent recently captivated Deauville’s audience, Ale Agote (In The Wings) has already taken part in the Argentine Open, the reference of this sport.
Noteworthy is the increasing number of French professionals in teams. The very talented Pierre-Henri Ngoumou (h4) will play for Tres Marias, the only team with no Argentinean players because of its French-Brazilian constellation. Patrick Paillol and Mathieu Delfosse (both h4) will represent Polo de Deauville and Clément Delfosse (h4) is going to boost Paprec. Best French player Brieuc Rigaux (h5) will play in the Peters Cup that will take place at the same time as the French Open. One of the top ten women polo players, Lia Salvo, will also attend the Peters Cup.
Who will succeed the Parisian team of Saint-Mesme currently holding the title ? A team from Deauville (HB or Polo de Deauville), from Chantilly (Pabrec, In The Wings, Tres Marias or Aries) or even from abroad (Marquard Media or Tom Tailor)? Maybe Saint-Mesme will be able to hold on to the title. First answers to this question will be available on Saturday, starting at 11 a.m.