It’s been an intense month of polo for Carlos Pando. He started the season—his fourteenth with Harald Link—at Thai Polo & Equestrian Club playing the Thai Polo Open, before competing in the B. Grimm Thai Polo Masters.
“I have been playing with Thai Polo and Harald for fourteen consecutive years,” shares Pando. “I was here when Thai Polo started out in this area. The club was under construction; only the clubhouse and ground one were in place. It is incredible to see how the club has evolved, with three fields, stables, world class infrastructure, an international organisation rooted in England, Argentina, and Malaysia. I am proud to have been able to contribute to make Thai Polo what it is today.”
Pando is set to stay a bit longer in Thailand to play the Chinese New Year Cup, also alongside Harald Link, but the Argentine takes a moment to look back on his journey with Thai Polo: “I think my first trip with Harald and Thai Polo was in 2006 to Malaysia. We played our first tournaments together that season. Fede Bachmann and Pablo Jauretche put in a good word for me, and I will always be grateful for the opportunity they gave me.”
This year, Thai Polo & Equestrian Club hosted two 14-goal tournaments (the Thai Polo Open and the B. Grimm Thai Polo Masters), which form part of the Royal Malaysian Polo Association (RMPA) League. The competition is scheduled to continue in August with three tournaments in Malaysia, of which Thai Polo is the reigning champion. Referring to the series, Pando states: “The highlight of the League is the good feeling there is between the patrons. They are all friends and that generates a pleasant atmosphere. The organisations are similar in terms of level, so it is very competitive. We are always very well received when we travel to Malaysia. I have made a lot of good friends there, and it is great being able to feel at home, even when you travel. It is great that there were two 14-goal tournaments in Thai Polo this year, because it makes the season more competitive. It is also good for the patrons, especially those that come from Malaysia, so they get the chance to play more and enjoy the Thai season for longer.”
“Playing with Thai Polo is always a pleasure,” continues the 41 year old. “We have a good work group; a lot of us have been here from the beginning. We started with Santi Bachmann, Julián Sagarna, Manu Cereceda; then Rauli Laplacette joined, who has now been playing with us for eight years. We all get on very well and it helps that we have seen great results over the last few years. I have learnt a lot, especially with Harald Link, who I consider a role model. He proves that a person can be important, successful, yet humble and hard working at the same time. He has been extremely generous with me, and I will be forever grateful to him.”
Pando continues, sharing with PoloLine that his first steps in polo were taken “at the farm, with friends and family. Everyone in my family played: My father, my brothers, my cousins. My first trip as a professional polo player was to Sevilla, Spain, at the age of 20. I travelled to Luis Ordaz’s Corchuela, an amazing place.”
But enough about the past, Pando has his gaze fixed on the future: “I am staying here in Thailand until March. In May I am due to travel again, this time to Singapore Polo Club, and I then stay in Asia until October, playing between Malaysia and Singapore. Looking forward, I would love to continue travelling and discovering new places. I am also helping open the first polo club in Japan, in Hokkaido, which is an interesting challenge!”