Friday afternoon saw us sitting at San Qi at the Four Seasons Hotel in Mumbai, chatting about polo with Rajasthan royal, Maharaj Narendra Singh of Jaipur.
Affable and eager to talk about the sport of kings, Maharaj Narendra Singh was accompanied by Johnny Lynn from England, Niall Donnelly from Ireland (he’s played alongside Britain’s Prince Harry in a few games) and Abhimanyu Pathak from India.
All of them will play tomorrow (Saturday 17th March 2012) at the Mahalaxmi Race Course, at the 3rd Annual Asia Cup Polo for the Ajit Singh Media trophy featuring the Amateur Riders Club of Mumbai.
Says Maharaj Narendra Singh of Jaipur, “I’ve been playing polo for the past ten years. I started in 2003 and spent a good six months learning to ride well before I started to play polo. I’ve played against teams from Italy, Germany, Argentina and France. In fact, I’ve even been appointed to be the Ambassador of polo in India by the Federation of International Polo (FIP) . I handle their interests here and promote the game as well.”
Says Johnny Lynn, “The sport has been played since 500BC and in India, it’s routinely used as a training exercise for the cavalry. It’s an extreme sport, it can be very dangerous since you have a ball going at 150 miles-per-hour and horses going 55 to 60 kilo metres an hour. But it’s exciting and high-energy!”
The young and ambitious Abhimanyu Pathak, has been playing polo for almost a decade and this time around, he’s playing for the British Team because one of their player’s got hurt and couldn’t play! However, he started to learn horse-riding rather late in life – when he was sixteen years old – but, “The moment I began to learn horse-riding, I started to learn to play polo as well,” he tells us.
The Indian team will be represented by Dhruvpal Godara, Lt. Col. Joginder Sheikhawat, Shyam Mariwala and Harsh Piramal.
The main sponsors for the event are Gem Palace (Jaipur), Leverage Capital, Four Seasons Hotel and Lufthansa Airlines.
The Asia Cup Polo international day was launched by the Sen Group in London where it will be held for the 6th year in June 2012.