RIYADH: Prince Salman bin Mansour has announced the creation of a new polo initiative.
The venture, SMA Polo, will see the establishment of a new, professional Saudi polo team that will compete in tournaments around the world.
The 19-year-old polo player and digital entrepreneur also aims to bring his vision for the sport to life by sharing his passion for the high-adrenaline game and support the making of Saudi Arabia into a thriving sporting powerhouse.
The prince said: “SMA Polo is my promise to work tirelessly to share my love of polo and inspire more young Saudis to live an active lifestyle, follow their passion, and together create future champions.
“This team has a clear vision to support the growth of the sport in the Kingdom and provide greater accessibility and more opportunities for young Saudis to discover the sport.
“Polo is such a unique sport. It is not only the relationship between the horse, but also the merge of equestrianism and polo as a team sport,” he added.
Prince Salman began playing polo at the age of 10 after visiting an exhibition game in the UK and has since trained all over the world to develop his skills.
He was part of the team that won the Saudi Polo Federation Silver Cup in April 2021 and was named most promising talent at the Richard Mille AlUla Desert Polo tournament in March. He also recently completed five weeks of intense training in Sotogrande, Spain, in preparation for the new season.
He said: “It wasn’t until very recently that polo has become accessible in Saudi. Thanks to the Ministry of Sports and the Saudi Polo Federation, we now have training facilities and tournaments.
“Playing in the Richard Mille AlUla Desert Polo was a dream come true, not only to play alongside the world’s best players like Adolfo Cambiaso and Juan Martin Nero, but also to welcome famous polo team owners to Saudi.
“These types of events are great for the long-term development of polo as it helps introduce more people to the sport, spectators get to see the action close up and experience the adrenaline and elegance of the horses, and it is my honor to play and promote the sport,” he added.
The prince, currently studying entrepreneurship and digital innovation in London, will base his team in the UK, but it will represent Saudi Arabia.
“In order to have regular access to training, the team will be based in the UK, and once I graduate my dream is to base my team in Riyadh to allow more Saudi youth to fall in love with the sport,” Prince Salman said.
The SMA Polo team will debut at the Cheshire Bowl Trophy to be held at Cheshire Polo Club in England on Aug. 27 and 28, where the prince, a minus-two-goal player, will be joined by three-goal Jonny Coddington, two-goal James Fielding, and one-goal Lenny Cunningham.
More information about SMA Polo can be found at smapolo.com and the team can be followed on social media at @smapoloteam.