Polo has been a male-centered sport for centuries. There were few female players in the early days of sports, but now it’s starting to change. For many female polo players, the game is a symbol of empowerment. Based in Mumbai, Lina Shah was the first Indian female Polo player to turn professional at the age of 40, all about adrenaline and horses.
Lina explains why she jumped into sports: “Nine years ago, I went to see a polo match in Mumbai with a friend. I saw it for the first time and fell in love in a blink of an eye. Adrenaline and horses made me want to try sports. I haven’t looked back. ”Lina describes Polo as the most difficult thing in life, saying: I had to change my diet and retirement home. I had to strengthen my back with yoga and functional training. Polo robs you a lot, so you need to stay healthy and build stamina at all times. Lina has continued her rigorous training and diet. She rides five times a week, plus weights, yoga, functioning and swimming. “I also play squash games several times a month to build stamina. My diet consists primarily of protein and good carbs,” she shares.
Initially, Lina’s family opposed picking up Polo because it was a dangerous sport. “The number of injuries I suffered gave them reasons to worry. But my passion overcame everything and convinced them that this was what I wanted to do. I tried to do it. I was wondering, “says Lina. “They came to see me play three years later, but now they are very proud. My.”
Her career was not sports oriented. Lina attended a girls’ school in Mumbai and then studied finance at the University of Sidenum. She attended Harvard Business School to study international business and later graduated from Fashion Institute of Technology (New York) to become India’s first shoe designer. In addition, before she turned 20, Lina had two degrees. One was Balatana Tiyam and the other was Kathak. She started polo training at Mahalakshmi Racecourse in Mumbai in 2011. Several falls from the horse that caused the fracture during the first training period did not undermine her confidence. After training in Argentina and the UK, she won two beginner polo tournaments in Jodhpur in a very short period of time. She has participated in many tournaments in India and abroad, including Jaipur, Jodhpur, Delhi, Mumbai, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States. “One of my most memorable tournaments was the Hermes Cup in Jodhpur,” she says. For the last few years, Lina has been a fixture on the Polo circuit and has played consecutive tournaments nationwide. She also founded her own polo team under the name “Rinaldi Polo” and features top Indian names such as Arjuna Award-winning Samils Hug, Chiragparek and Gauraf Segal.
“Physically it was difficult to compete with men and they had a hard time accepting that I was going to participate in the sport and stay. Initially, they made fun of me behind me and I I predicted that he would quit soon, “recalls Lina. “But when I got my team, things changed. They realized I did something they couldn’t do.” According to Lina, Polo is in India. You have not reached the level to be played. “It’s slowing down because not enough people are playing it and the infrastructure isn’t the best,” she says. “There is no polo school in India either.” Admitting that being one of the most expensive sports is a constraint, Lina tries to make a few players take advantage of it and grow it for young people. It states that there is.
And Lina is not only a polo player, but also a DJ, percussionist and footwear designer. “I love them all equally because I appeared in my life when I needed them all and encouraged me to learn more. I always want to be an athlete and a musician while I grow up. I thought, each would meet me in a different way, “she reveals.
She is currently planning to host a Beach Polo match in Goa after the blockade.
“We also plan to launch an IP at a music event in November 2021. This will be the only event in Gore. We will also introduce our own drums and combine them with our role as a DJ. “She concludes.