By Amina Nazarli
The 1st FIP Arena Polo European Championship held in Baku ended with the victory of the Azerbaijani team.
Defeating Germany with a score of 6:5 in the final on September 12, the national team composed of Elchin Jamal, Tarlan Gurbanaliyev, Rashad Hasanov, and Sylvester Garros took gold, proving that Azerbaijanis still retain their mastery of this ancient sport.
Germany took the silver medal, while the bronze went to Ireland after its 4.5-4 victory over Spain.
Spain took the fourth place, followed by Switzerland and Italy.
The closing ceremony saw a brilliant performance by German musician Lou Bega, who electrified the audience with his rhythmic music.
Six teams from Azerbaijan, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, Italy, and Spain competed for the title at the Elite Horse and Polo Club in Baku’s Bina village.
Azerbaijan has been a member of the Federation of International Polo since 2013.
That year, the Arena Polo World Cup was held in Azerbaijan under the theme "Bringing Polo Home," with the participation of teams from Britain, USA, Argentina, and Germany.
The second Polo World Cup was held in the country in 2014, where Argentina took first place and the European Union second. Azerbaijan stood third.
Azerbaijanis have a heritage of playing equestrian sports like Chovgan, the original form of polo dating back thousands of years. Chovgan is still played in Azerbaijan to this day, and since 2006, the Chovgan Presidential Cup has been held every December.
This ancient game was included in UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage at the 8th Session of UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which was held in Baku in 2013.