Meet Alfredo Bigatti: the young talent that commuted for 5 hours a day just to practice

The 7 goaler for La Aguada talks about the sacrifices his father made to help him fulfill his dream.

What does polo represent to you?

For me it's everything. It’s been my dream for a longtime, what I always wanted to do. I never had another goal than to be a professional polo player, and I am still fighting for that.

How did you start?

My family did a lot of things so that I could play. They always supported me and took me everywhere. When I went to school and played at La Cañada in Open Door, I went to school in the morning and in the afternoon I traveled 400km because I went and came back to practice. I did that for 3 years, but that sacrifice wasn’t on me, it was on my dad. I went from Chascomús to Open Door on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which takes approximately 2 hours, practiced, and then came back.

What were the challenges you faced when you started?

My main objective was to play the Palermo Open, which I accomplished faster than I could have imagined. I think every player who wants to play polo and wants to be professional strives for that. It is everyone's dream. There are always new goals in the short and long term.

How did you reach your goal earlier than expected?

We had started a team with a young core with Juan Britos, following the steps of every player: playing the Cámara and then qualifying for the Palermo Open. And there, incase of qualifying, you get a shot at playing the Open. Because Eduardo (Novillo Astrada) got injured, with his support, I started playing in Aguada, which was something much bigger than I had ever dreamed of.

What are your strongest virtues as a player?

I believe that my attitude is the most important and my biggest my strength. I will always give my 100%.

Who was the best player you played with, and who was the toughest opponent?

The truth is that I played with almost everyone, but the one I enjoyed the most was with Miguel Novillo. He makes everything look simple. It is easy to find him on the field. The toughest opponent, definitely, was Dolfina. Every team is very difficult at that level. Las Monjitas, too. All players are good and hard to face.

Who would you like to alongside with?

I would love to play with Hilario Ulloa*. I like the way he plays and the willpower has. His mentality is just remarkable.

*Hilario Ulloa will play for Las Monjitas in the XPL.

What’s the player’s relationship with the horse like?

I think the bond is very strong. Horses are essentially your legs, just like a car is for a driver. In polo, I believe the connection is even stronger because horses are animals, they are living beings that have feelings. The car is metal; and you can change worn out metal for a new one. The horse is a very personal issue and it is key to know the limitations and the virtues it has to make the right play at the right time, and not make mistakes.

What was your greatest joy as an athlete?

I think the day I played for the first time at the Palermo Open. My dad was there. It was very exciting. My family was there too, but he and I spent a lot of time together with this passion of mine. It was like fulfilling a dream for both of us.

What do you think about the XPL’s proposal?

I think it’s great. We’ve all been thinking about this for a long time. It is what polo needs to grow as a sport worldwide. And I think it's spectacular, that's why we're all supporting it. I like this idea of copying formulas that have already worked in other sports. Everything has been invented already, and there is nothing wrong with following others. If it worked elsewhere, why couldn't it work with polo?

What do you think of the changes to the rules?

I think this can attract a lot of people who do not know the sport. It can be confusing for us who already know the sport, but I think it will help new people a lot. I felt good on the court when playing with these rules. You really do adapt quickly to changes. It doesn't change much.

What do you think of the handicap limitations?

I think it will be a more inclusive league. It will help the young in their development very much. It is very difficult to get to play with a 10 goals by other means. If you are not in the two leading teams of the Open you really cannot play. And the only way to improve and reach that level is to play with players of that calibre. Like any sport, it is not easy to reach the top. But to the players who are starting to play at that level I think it will help them a lot.

What do you think about the current broadcast of the sport?

I believe that we make changes and grow. Most sports have evolved in that way, except for polo. Making changes in this sense will help a lot so that new people understand the game. Polo has a lot of interesting details, like the physicality of horses crashing into each other, all that adrenaline, if showcased with better cameras and microphones will help a lot. It’s definitely something that the sport as it is is missing.

What do you think of this new dynamic with having franchise owners?

I think that could be the biggest change we would face. You are not competing with the patrons, but with other people who enjoy having a team and like competing against each other. I think it's great. If I could have my own team and move pieces to compete, I would do it in a heartbeat.

What do you think about the international projection that the league has?

I think this would be the most important of the project. We have a national product of the highest quality. If it’s showcased in different parts of the world, the sport has a real chance at growing fast.

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