* I was impressed on how much they knew about polo playing in Pakistan and how according to them, the sport was one of the finest in my hometown
Two years back, on my annual winter break, I had the good fortune of visiting Beaufort Polo Club in Gloucestershire.
I explored the beautiful stables, the open playing fields, saw men and women practicing, and the trainers and players juggling various things at once, making the atmosphere bright and merry as though a page out of Black Beauty.
On speaking to one of the trainers, I was impressed on how much they knew about polo playing in Pakistan, and how according to them, the sport was one of the finest in my hometown. They termed our players as “true professionals” and “worthy of international recognition.”
It is only but recently that I discovered how true these same attributes were for our younger players when I talked to Hamza Ali Hakeem (the youngest patron) on the criteria behind the selection of players, how much training do they undergo, the amount of time they invest at the club and how often do championships take place.
“All the horses are from Argentina, which is the hub of polo in the world,” Hamza Ali Hakeem said, while talking exclusively to Daily Times. “Anyone who can afford an imported horse and of course, has the skill, passion and aptitude to play the sport is more than welcome to be a part.”
Hamza plays as part of the AOS polo team, which comprises of four players. “There are four players in each time,” he says.
It is pertinent to mention that all the other team owners are grown adults, but Hamza is the only 18-year-old who owns a team that plays the high goal.
The young player’s passion is almost tangible. Still a student, he manages to study online, workout and at the same, dedicate as much time as possible to playing polo.
He practises and plays at the beautiful Jinnah Polo & Country Club at DHA Phase 8. Hamza mentioned how the team has braved the current climate of COVID-19 and participated whole heartedly in every match and championship, sometimes failing, most times victorious.
It has been a busy year for the team with a number of matches taking place, and gruelling and time consuming practise sessions every now and then.
From what came across as a serene and peaceful day, with only a handful of people strolling along the perfectly manicured lawns, Hamza explained how fully packed the enclosures are at the time of the matches.
We look forward to the team’s participation in the upcoming matches and championships.