EMBOLDENED by the success of the 2015 Philippine Polo Open, businessman-sportsman Mikee Romero is now pushing for the creation of a national polo association that will lead the way in professionalizing one of the elite sports in the country.
“With the continued rise of polo in terms of popularity and acceptance, I think it’s high time that we form a national association so that we can bring the competition to the next level,” said Romero, who bankrolled the staging of the first 12-goal tournament here last week. “We need a national identity.”
Romero said there are groups of polo players around, but stressed there’s no national association that governs them.
And this is the reason why the owner of the Globalport Batang Pier team in the PBA plans to meet with known polo players and aficionados and persuade them to create a working committee that will set the guidelines for the creation of the association.
Romero noted interest in the sport has intensified since professional players from Argentina, Australia, and England started playing in the country three years ago – not to mention the continued participation of traditional Asian powers such as China, Thailand, and Brunei in the country’s premier tournament.
“We now have a slew of young players eager to play, and I heard that some kids in the South are also interested to take up the sport,” said Romero. “That’s why it is important now that we create a national association to sustain the growth of the sport.”
Before buying a PBA franchise three years ago, Romero was the president the shooting association, and earlier headed the national association of cycling.
“We have so many big-time players but we need to form a national group to have an identity,” added Romero.
Meanwhile, the pros and their guests in the recent PH Polo Open were so delighted with the first-class hospitality showed by the hosts that they vowed to come back next year.
Los Tamaraos English pro Max Charlton arrived in the country with his parents and eventually emerged as the big star of the week-long event after scoring five goals in the team’s 8-7 win over Tang Polo of China in the one-game final.
Tang Polo patron ShiLai Liu, Kingpower’s Apichet Srivaddhanaprabha and Polo Escape’s Robin Lourvanijo were likewise impressed with the playing field in Calatagan and the crowd that showed up to watch the games both in Calatagan and Makati.
“Mikee is a very good friend, like a family, and we both loved to play with each other,” said Liu. “That’s why we still play next year.”