Ambassador Tegla Loroupe among sports fans at the Maria Bencivenga Polo Tournament Nairobi

Polo is a fascinating sport for both players and the fans alike.

One person described it as, ” the ability to combine the skill of a Tiger Woods, the agility of a Pelé, the speed of a Michael Johnson, and the stamina of a Lance Armstrong is what it takes to be a superior polo player – and that’s just the horse!”

Hundreds of sports enthusiasts turned up for the Maria Bencivenga Memorial Trophy which took place this past weekend at the Nairobi Polo Club. The 20th iteration of the polo tournament was played to honour the memory of the late Maria Bencivenga, who, together with her husband, were devout polo players and and also bred quality polo ponies. The tournament is known for its unique requirement that each team must have a lady player on the field.

Sabina Bencivenga, daughter to the late Maria Bencivenga, expressed her joy at the longevity of the tournament and the steady increase in the standard of play. She said, “I am so proud to see the tournament continue to grow and improve after 20 years. The only addition I would like to see in future iterations is more teams and more sponsors to make this possible. I would like to thank the Nairobi Polo Club chairman, Raphael Nzomo, for hosting the tournament. I believe the tournament has been successful in promoting women’s participation in the sport and also remembering my mother’s legacy.”

It’s one of the oldest known sports, dating to the 11th century in Europe. The game evolved from the ancient sport of “polo” played in the Middle East, which itself was derived from horse racing. It is not just about the sport but the fans too- its become a social event where everyone puts their best foot forward, fashion wise. 

Former multiple world record holder Tegla Loroupe applauded the conveners and sponsors of the Maria Bencivenga Memorial Trophy which took place last weekend at the Nairobi Polo Club. 

“The Maria Bencivenga Trophy is an important tournament that empowers women by allowing them to play together with men on the same field. This is a great step towards achieving gender equality in sports. It is very encouraging to see women being given equal opportunities to showcase their skills and talents in the sport. Sport is what got me to where I am today, therefore I would like to appreciate the sponsors and the Nairobi Polo Club for making all this happen today.”

The Nairobi Polo Club chairman, Raphael Nzomo, also commented on the tournament, saying, “We are very proud to have hosted the 20th annual Maria Bencivenga Trophy. The tournament has been a great success, and we are happy to see that it continues to grow in popularity. We would like to thank all the teams who participated, and all the sponsors who made the tournament possible. We look forward to hosting the tournament again next year and encouraging more teams to participate and more sponsors to come on board.” 

(Photos by Content Factory Club)

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