A few days ago the UAE Polo team won the OUT-SOURCING! Inc Royal Windsor Cup for the first time at the UK’s Guards Polo Club. Team patron, Sheikha Maitha bint Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum joined her team to receive the coveted cup from The Queen. Polo, known as the Sport of Kings, enjoys a strong following, patronage and participation amongst royalty and eminent figures worldwide.
In Nigeria polo’s captured the attention of Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote, along with Oba of Lagos. High profile clubs include Lagos Polo Club and Fifth Chukker. In India Maharaja Sawai Padmanabh Singh of Jaipur, “the last Maharaja”, is the youngest winner of the Indian Open Polo Cup. Major clubs include the Calcutta Polo and Rajasthan Polo Club. In the UK, The Queen is patron of Guards Polo Club and Prince Harry and Prince William play polo for charity.
Polo’s Next Generation of Rising Stars
But how is this regal sport being made more accessible to new talent? It’s often handed down from father to son. Guards is in the forefront of supporting polo for young players, hosting matches and tournaments for schools. Add that to the fact that around 28 UK boarding schools now have polo teams including Wellington College, Millfield School, Stowe School, Eton College, Harrow School, Marlborough College, Rugby School and Cheltenham Ladies’ College.
Wellington mentioned above, renowned as being one of the strongest sporting schools in the UK, won Guard’s Copenhagen Cup Final last month. Stowe school in Buckinghamshire have a brand-new equestrian centre designed by Captain Mark Phillips and its own polo field. Somerset’s Millfield School hosts the celebrated Millfield Polo Invitational each year.
There’s a real buzz about polo in British senior schools and real opportunity to be the next star of this historic world.