Argentine polo player Ignacio “Nacho” Figueras has made it his mission in life to attract more people to a sport that is often referred to as the “Sport of Kings.”
In an effort to do that, Figueras will host the eight annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Los Angeles at the Will Rogers State Park on Saturday, Oct. 14.
During his trip to California, he made a stop in San Diego to talk to La Prensa San Diego about his career, aspirations, and misconceptions around polo.
While most people will recognize him as the face of Ralph Lauren’s fragrance lines, most of his life’s work has been dedicated to polo. He began his career at an early age and now, with more than 30 years playing polo, Figueras believes he has a lot of work to do.
“It’s a big mission of my life to promote the sport of polo,” Figueras said to La Prensa San Diego.
LPSD: What made you want to play polo?
NF: Argentina is a place where polo is quite popular. I started playing polo when I was nine and I always rode horses and I really liked polo so I grew up playing polo and I started my professional career at 17.
LPSD: Did you have an “this is it” moment?
NF: When I was about 15 or 16 I started to play more polo and I began to realize that’s was what I would like to do with my life.
At the age of 16 I started to travel professionally and luckily I did well.
LPSD: How do you feel looking back at your accomplishments?
NF: I feel proud but I feel that I still have more to do. I feel that it is a responsibility to use everything I have achieved so far to promote polo. I feel that there is still much to be done, there is much work to be done.
Polo is a sport that has all the ingredients for people to like but what is needed is more communication for people to come to polo and I think that’s why these events (Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Los Angeles) do a good job because there is a lot of press around the events, people find out what polo is, many people come.
LPSD: Your mission is to bring polo to more people, but it is viewed as an elitist sport, how do you overcome that?
NF: First, polo is not elitist when you immerse yourself into the sport and you play polo you realize that, like Winston Churchill said, “polo is a passport to the world.”
Polo opens doors, polo allows a guy like me from the countryside of argentina to travel around the world and play with Prince Henry or do an event in New York with 10,000 people and Alicia Keys singing at the end.
So if you look at it that way it’s not an elitist thing, it’s allowed me and many other people to make it to places.
On the other side, it is a sport that puts together communities, men and women from different places and different races and different backgrounds in one place.