SATTAR KHAN Consultant to the historic club, which has over 125 years of history.
By Andrés Ugarte Larraín
Sattar Khan is considered to be one of the best players from Singapore, after having spent twenty years in the country. Born in Pakistan, Khan has over thirty years of polo experience. “I first started working for the Singapore Polo Club (the only polo club in the country) as a freelancer in 1995, and got a permanent position in 2011. I moved to Singapore in 1998. I am still based in Singapore today and I run my own polo consultancy. I am associated with the Singapore Polo Club as a consultant. I work for several Singapore based patrons, I supervise the club’s polo pony exercise programs, and break in Argentine and Australian ponies bred in Malaysia.”
What are the main features of Singapore Polo Club?
Singapore Polo Club is extremely unique. Located in the heart of land scarce Singapore, it is an oasis. It has a beautiful restaurant overlooking the polo field, equestrian facilities, tennis courts, a swimming pool, and squash and gym facilities. It was started by the British in 1886; it has a long history of over 125 years. There are over 1000 members, of which around 50 are polo players. The polo field has the reputation of being the ‘most played on field’ as we play twelve chukkas four times a week, nine months a year. There are approximately 200 polo ponies.
How is the polo season made up?
The season is nine months long, and runs from March through to November. There are tournaments every month. There is also a “Triple Crown” made up by the three most important tournaments: The Diplomat’s Cup (2-4 goal), the International Pro Am (4-6 goal) and the Singapore Open (8-10 goal). There is also an annual Women’s tournament (1-4 goals).
Which notables players have played at the club?
Prince Charles and Prince Philip have played at Singapore Polo Club. Bruneian, Malaysian & Jordanian royalty have also played here. In recent times, Nacho Figueras has been the most high profile player. But the club is mostly a members club, and it is the keen participation of all the members that makes it the special place it is. In terms of patrons, key Singaporean patrons are Yeo Kuo Lee, Satinder Garcha, Vinod Kumar, Asad Jumabhoy and Lynly Fong. I think that the young, upcoming players are the future of the club and I am very supportive of children’s polo in Singapore.
I am originally from Pakistan and have represented both Pakistan and Singapore in the World Cup. I am now a citizen of Singapore and I have worked all over the world: USA, England and all over Asia.
My 21-year old son, Waqas Khan, is a 4-goal polo player. He is at university in England at the moment. My brother, Sani Khan, works for Singapore Polo Club and plays off 2 goals.
Do you receive visiting teams from Thailand or Malaysia, for example?
There used to be a lot of participation around the region. However, the strict quarantine guidelines in Singapore have made it difficult for visiting teams to enter with the horses, but the club hosts visiting teams from time to time.
Are you planning to present a team in future editions of the SEA Games or the All Asia Cup?
We definitely have the players to field strong teams for both the SEA Games and All Asia Cup. It has always been my dream to field a young Singaporean team in the World Cup, and we now have the players to do that.
What goals does Singapore Polo Club have for the future?
To raise the profile and level of polo in Singapore, bring in new players and to field a locally trained team in international competitions while staying true to the principles of a members club.