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Valiente Wins Inaugural WPL U.S. National Mixed Doubles Championship; Nina Clarkin, Adolfo Cambiaso Named MVPs

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Valiente Wins Inaugural WPL U.S. National Mixed Doubles Championship; Nina Clarkin, Adolfo Cambiaso Named MVPs
WELLINGTON, Fl., April 6, 2019----Valiente added another exciting chapter in the history of the World Polo League.

By Sharon Robb 


WPL U.S. National Mixed Doubles champions Valiente's Bob Jornayvaz, Pamela Flanagan, Mia Cambiaso and Adolfo Cambiaso.

On a perfect sunny afternoon for polo at Valiente Polo Farm, Valiente (Bob Jornayvaz, Pamela Flanagan, Mia Cambiaso, Adolfo Cambiaso) defeated Audi (Milli Sanchez, Nina Clarkin, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Marc Ganzi), 6-4, Friday in the WPL U.S. National Mixed Doubles Championship.

Created by WPL co-founder Bob Jornayvaz, the unique first-of-its-kind game featured two men and two women with combined handicaps on each team.

Audi teammates Nina Clarkin and Alejandro Novillo Astrada work together during a scoring drive
.
"It was so much fun, it was great," Jornayvaz said. "I am really happy. I think we took women's polo to another level in terms of just accelerating the pace. I am really proud of the girls and how they played. They did well. I am just so proud of what they did."

Jornayvaz, who grew up playing mixed doubles in tennis, came up with the idea to help promote women's polo, the largest growing sector of polo throughout the world.

Ten-goaler Nina Clarkin of Audi hits past 10-goaler Adolfo Cambiaso and Bob Jornayvaz of Valiente.
 
"I watched the women, they are a big, big part of the game and need to be recognized more than they are," Jornayvaz said. "This is a great way to elevate them, speed up their game and be a part of the entire polo community. I hope they feel that same way. I am a man with two daughters and I am very appreciative of where we are trying to go with the women in the world."

Jornayvaz said there is great interest in the event and he hopes to attract more teams in 2020. "It was a great start and we will have more time next year to organize and schedule it," Jornayvaz said.

Milli Sanchez of Audi attempts to hook Pamela Flanagan of Valiente.
 
Ten-goalers Nina Clarkin of Great Britain and Adolfo Cambiaso of Argentina were named Female and Male Most Valuable Players.

"It was great fun," Cambiaso said. "I think the idea from Bob is great and I hope in the future we can get eight teams and play a real tournament flat out with handicaps. We can go six chukkers.

Ten-goalers Nina Clarkin of Audi and Adolfo Cambiaso of Valiente stride-for-stride.
 
"The thing is we need to find the right time and we can do it in a week or week and a half," Cambiaso said. "Today we played flat out. It was a great start, something new."

Cambiaso also enjoyed playing with his 16-year-old daughter, Mia. "It was fun, sometimes I get mad at her and she gets mad at me, but it was great fun," Cambiaso said.

It was the second time Clarkin played against Cambiaso and first time with 18-year-old Milli Sanchez. Clarkin beat Cambiaso in the semifinal of the 2003 Gold Cup in England which her team went on to win. Coincidentally, her sister Tamara sent her a photo on Friday of the two of them playing against each other.

Adolfo Cambiaso of Valiente and Alejandro Novillo Astrada of Audi follow the ball.
 
"I played against him before but never in a situation like this," Clarkin said. "It was good fun to play against him today and see how he played with Mia and coached her. He is fantastic. He is so good and it's an honor to be on the same field as him.

"I thought it was fantastic, what a brilliant idea," Clarkin said. "I think it could grow into something really big in the future. I really enjoyed it. I am real excited to see where it goes. I can't wait to play it next year.

Adolfo Cambiaso of Valiente and his horse fly through the air as he works the ball out of the air.
 
"This has never been done anywhere officially like this with the women and men playing off their handicaps," Clarkin said. "I think that is an interesting idea and good concept and works very well. 

The fast, wide open four-chukker game was a battle from the opening chukker. The lead changed hands six times before Flanagan and Clarkin scored back-to-back goals in the final 3:29 minutes to put the game away.

"I love this concept," said Flanagan, coming off the finals of the Susan G. Komen Women's U.S. Open. "It was a dream playing with Adolfo. I think everybody would probably feel that way. Not only Adolfo but Mia and Bob, too. They are all incredible teammates.

Mia Cambiaso of Valiente reaches to hook Milli Sanchez of Audi.
 
"This was Bob's project and he is really passionate about it," said Flanagan, 25, who has been playing polo since her sophomore year of high school at Culver Academy. "Having Bob be so passionate about incorporating women's polo says a lot. That is really special for women's polo and what the World Polo League is doing incorporating women's polo is also really special so we have to give them a big shoutout."

It was the first time Argentine 8-goaler Alejandro Novillo Astrada played with and against women players in a regulation game. Astrada replaced 10-goaler Pablo MacDonough, who sprained his ankle earlier in the day during a WPL game with his team Audi against Grand Champions.

Valiente teammates and father and daughter Adolfo and Mia Cambiaso ride off to the players' tent between chukkers.
 
"I have played practices with my nieces but not like this," Astrada said. "This was fun. Those women played very well. They know how to play good polo. I hope it catches on here. It is a fun format. Maybe they will do something a little different like the men cannot score from inside 60 yards. It's something to work on, but I think it is a great start."

"I love the concept and I mentioned to Bob that I really love the idea mixing the women's handicaps with the men's handicaps," said Dawn Jones, one of the co-founders of the Women's International Polo Network. "I think it's really essential that we promote the women's handicaps because there are only nine countries in the world that implement that handicap scale and I want to see all the other associations that are part of the Federation International Polo adopt that scale.

Bob Jornayvaz of Valiente drives downfield with the ball.

"Without a doubt I was very impressed with the game and the level of play," Jones said. "The types of plays that were made will help improve the women's game. I love seeing Adolfo and his daughter playing together. They made some beautiful team plays." 

Valiente got balanced scoring. Adolfo Cambiao, Mia Cambiaso and Flanagan each had two goals. For Audi, all four players each scored one goal.


Grand Champions Best Playing Pony Fausto played by Mia Cambiaso.
 
Fausto, a 6-year-old gelding played by Mia Cambiaso in the third chukker and owned by La Dolfina, was Grand Champions Best Playing Pony.

Augustina, a 14-year-old mare, played by Flanagan in the third chukker and owned by J5Equestrian, was named American Polo Horse Association Best Playing Pony.

American Polo Horse Association Best Playing Pony Augustina, played by Pamela Flanagan.
 
The American Polo Horse Association was created in 2006 by the legendary Polo Hall of Famer Sunny Hale to recognize polo ponies in America and encourages events that showcase them and hard-working dedication of grooms.

The WPL is being live streamed on ESPN Deportes and ChukkerTV/Polo Channel/Horseplay with Gus Whitelaw calling the action. For more information go to www.worldpolo.org.

Co-founded by Grand Champions owners Melissa and Marc Ganzi and Valiente Polo Farm owner Bob Jornayvaz, the World Polo League is the only 26-goal polo in the world outside of Argentina. The WPL is preserving the highest level of polo and its rich, hallowed tradition in the U.S. 

Marc Ganzi of Audi defends Pamela Flanagan of Valiente during one of her goal runs.
Photos by Ramon Casares
 
The WPL has its own set of simpler fan-friendly rules to improve the flow and action of the game.

The WPL, with 11 tournament-quality fields to play on, features the All-Star Challenge Draw Tournament, Founders Cup, Palm Beach Open and Triple Crown of Polo. The WPL is open to teams that wish to compete in one or more of the tournaments. Games are offered on the flat (Open) and on Handicap.

The World Polo League has attracted a large international field of players from all corners of the world  including  Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Nigeria, New Zealand, Uruguay and U.S.

U.S. National Mixed Doubles awards table 
Staff Photo
Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique polo facility in Wellington with 120 stalls in five self-contained barns, exercise track, five climate-controlled tack rooms, vet room, staff quarters, guest house and three polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation including one field for stick-and-ball with plans to build more polo fields in the future.
 
2019 WORLD POLO LEAGUE SCHEDULE


APRIL
March 27-April 14, Triple Crown of Polo
 
Saturday, 4/6:
4 p.m. Colorado vs Alegria at Valiente Field 1

Sunday, 4/7:
10 a.m. Grand Champions vs Mandarina at Jan Pamela Field 3
1 p.m. Valiente vs Black Watch at Valiente Field 2
4 p.m. Audi vs WPL at GCPC Field 2 

Wednesday, 4/10:
11 a.m. Subsidiary Semifinal
4 p.m. Subsidiary Semifinal

Thursday, 4/11:
11 a.m. Triple Crown of Polo Semifinal
4 p.m. Triple Crown of Polo Semifinal

Saturday, 4/13:
Subsidiary Final

Sunday, 4/14:
4 p.m. Triple Crown of Polo Championship Final, GCPC Field 2
 
 
 
 
 
 
WPL Hotline: 833-POLO-411
Games at Grand Champions Polo Club, Valiente Polo Farm and other local fields, call our hotline to receive daily game and field information.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Chukker TV is live streaming the entire World Polo League season with film material content provided by Polo Channel. ChukkerTV, featuring cutting-edge technology, was the first to introduce state-of-the-art live streaming technology and instant replay in January, 2014 at Grand Champions Polo Club. For advertising opportunities please contact Mike Ferreira at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Rob Jornayvaz at Polo Channel at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
For Daily Game information call our hotline at 1-833-POLO-411
 
 
Jan-Eric Franck
"The Voice of Polo"
 
ESPN West Palm (106.3FM) and ESPN Deportes (760AM) signed an exclusive contract with the World Polo League and will target the West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami markets with various broadcasts, commercials and exposure on radio, ESPN.com, ESPN app and social media platforms to promote the exciting new 26-goal league. With nearly two decades of sustained success in sports and entertainment broadcasting, Josh Cohen is among the most influential, respected and popular on-air personalities and live event hosts in South Florida. Julian Zaldivar has been a part of ESPN West Palm team and ESPN Deportes760AM manager since its inception. He is the host of Comunidad ESPN Monday through Friday that features all-sports talk and interviews with the Latino community leaders from the local Hispanic market.


 
Josh Cohen
Julian Zaldivar
 
GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB

WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 33414.

DIRECTOR OF POLO: Juan Olivera, 561-644-5050, juan.olivera@gcpolo.com; hotline  561-644-5050.

INFORMATION: For spectators, there are great field side views for tournament action and also the Grand Champions Polo Club Boutique. The club is home base for pro teams Audi and Flexjet. Everyone is welcome to watch every level of polo in a relaxed atmosphere with food and refreshments during the featured games of the winter, spring and fall tournament seasons and other special events. Admission is free except for some special events.
 

 
 
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Grand Champions Polo Club, 13444 Southfields Road, Wellington, FL 33414
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