SAN FRANCISCO, USA (sentinel.ht) – In the 1920’s and 30’s, Haiti was known for holding, and having the best in its territory for polo matches. Providing the ideal tropical climate, a friendly native population welcome travelers from all over the world, who docked in its ports to enjoy the best foods, culture, entertainment and sport.
But in these times, since these times, Haiti had never fielded a national team of its own. It was a game described as “the sport of kings”, a nation born of slaves who revolted, it seemed implausible to play… but as we know through Haitian history, in the heart of the enslaved can be the heart of a king, that can become king.
It is yet still remarkable that the history-making participation of the first Haitian team, in an official international tournament (USPA, et al recognized), would perform so well and in the end, hold up the championship trophy.
Box score results
Team Haiti was challenged by teams with long-standing records, reputations, on its way to the championship, but Panama, China and the defending international world champions, Argentina, could not stop what seemed in retrospect, a charging locomotive.
Haiti Team Captain Claude-Alix Bertrand described Sunday’s events as “serendipitous… everything was working in our way.” Jessie Diaz, the Secretary of State for Tourism in Haiti made the opening toss that was quickly engaged by Bertrand and led to a first score for the Haitian team in less than 30 seconds. “You can tell [the Americans] were just struck by then.”
The United States offered a very impressive defensive front, but it seemed a confused offensive attack, struck by an early goal, would culminate in an unraveling 6-2 defeat. Haiti became the Champions of the inaugural, POLOSF, Inc. and Audi Sportscar Experience International Polo Tournament in San Francisco that Sunday.
The impressive run of the Haitian squad now places it in the rankings of the world’s polo associations, opening the country for participation in tournaments throughout the world and year-round.
Despite a final score of 6-2, the U.S. defense kept the Haiti team, which scored 8 against a strong Argentina squad, to only 6 but two scoreless opening chukkers, in the first and third, would relegate them to runner’s up in the tournament.
There was more good news to come, with dozens of ladies in hats at Sunday’s match, Secretary Diaz’s red head wear won her top showing in the hat competition.