Polo team kicks off Team Philippines' SEA Games campaign

The Philippine polo team for the 30th Southeast Asian Games is aiming for a good showing on their home field. PSC

Athletes on horseback officially kick off hostilities for the country's hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games with the 0-4 goals event in Calatagan, Batangas set for Sunday.

Polo is one of the 56 sports on the program of the 30TH SEA Games that formally starts with the opening ceremony on Saturday at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

The polo competitions also happen a day after the Bamboo Pavillon at the Miguel Romero field was blessed and inaugurated.

Four countries-Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and host Philippines-are entered in the glamorous sport, one of the oldest in history.

No team seems to have an advantage over the other which should be a guarantee for a battle royale for the two gold medals up for grabs.

"That's certainly going to happen because everybody is holding their cards close to their chests. Our rivals are tough but we are prepared for the challenges that will come our way," Rep. Mikee Romero of Team Philippines said.

"But whatever happens, we have to cherish this moment since this is the first time in decades that we have this kind of tournament of this magnitude."

"We have so many unsung heroes and heroines in putting up this kind of tournament and everybody experienced birth pains," added Romero who, along with other members of PH team trained hard for two weeks in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Romero failed to complete the team's scheduled two-week training as he fell off his horse on the eighth day and hardly walked straight for two days.

"Everybody is excited so we have to put up a show and try to help the country attain its ultimate goal of winning the overall championship," added Romero, who will see action in the 0-2 goals starting on December 3.

The Miguel Romero Field was a venue of grandeur during its inauguration yesterday.

"I congratulate the polo federation for its full enthusiasm not only for the sport, but most especially for the country's hosting of the 30th SEA Games," Philippine Olympic Committee President Rep. Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino.

On the Bamboo Pavilion, Tolentino said: "This pavilion-so unique and a priceless architectural masterpiece-showcases Filipino spirit, tradition and love for sports."

The polo athletes also drew major support from the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), especially during training camp for the Games.

"As Team Philippines wages battle in the 30th SEA Games starting with our polo athletes, I call on our countrymen to show their support," PSC Commissioner Charles Maxey said. Our athletes prepared hard for the Games and they need all the prayers and love from the Filipino people."