New to polo

New to the game of polo.

A look at the growth of polo in China and Denmark.

Polo rose in popularity during Britain’s colonial period when the army spread the game across the British Empire. It is an ancient sport which originated in Asia, with polo being played in China during the Tang dynasty (AD618-906). However, because of the political situation in China, polo was seldom played by the 1970s. Now, however, polo has returned to China with clubs thriving in Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin.

The revival started in 2010 with the introduction of high profile international polo tournaments such as the inaugural Fortune Heights Super Nations Cup, which is hosted by the Tianjin Goldin Metropolitan polo club. Professional teams from Hong Kong China, the US, England, Argentina and South Africa play in this tournament hosted by the Federation of International Polo and the Tianjin Sports Bureau.

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The successful establishment of these new clubs is down to the expertise which has been imported into China. For example, Mr Paul Stevens, the English general manager of Tianjin’s Metropolitan Polo Club, was formerly the facilities manager at Guards Polo Club. Luis Lalor, former president of the Argentine Polo Association was also hired to bring in further international expertise.

Last year Tianjin hosted the Cambridge Challenge polo tournament. Six teams of students came from some of the best-known institutions on both sides of the Atlantic: Oxford, Harvard, Cambridge, Stanford, University of London, and Yale took part. The International Polo Association is involved in promoting the development of polo in China. They also worked with the European polo world, and British royalty, with the Goldin Group Charity Polo Cup event in the UK. Tang Polo Club is based in Beijing, with Sunny Times Polo Club in Shanghai and Tianjin Goldin Metropolitan Polo Club in Tianjin.

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Denmark is another nation that has recently embraced polo. The Danish Polo Association was established in 2012 with the first club located in Copenhagen. The Danish Polo Association has worked hard to achieve an interest in the sport that continues to grow, with a now solid foundation of people both regularly playing and learning polo in Denmark as well as competing abroad.

The DPA originally had a dual role acting as the official governing body of polo in Denmark whilst managing the newly formed Copenhagen Polo Club. To facilitate further growth in the sport and in conjunction with the 2015 polo season at Kokkedal Castle Copenhagen, the club now has independent management. Copenhagen Polo Club (CPC) is affiliated as the official polo club under and with the support of the Danish Polo Association, the governing body of polo in Denmark. The club is managed by Lucien Moore.

With events now established in Scandinavia such as the Copenhagen Polo Open and the Scandinavian Beach Polo World Cup (which takes place this week on the Riviera) Danish polo is attracting international players and worldwide attention.