Marco Focaccia, polo manager of Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club, speaks to MOJEHMEN about the sport in the run-up to UAE National Day Polo Cup 2017.
When were you introduced to polo?
Growing up on a farm in Argentina and watching my father play polo led to my growing passion and love of horses. I began playing the sport at the age of eight-years-old in a country where polo was immensely popular and it was this popularity that led to my growing sense of love for ‘the sport of kings.’
Tell us about the history of the sport?
It [polo] actually became popular as a male-dominant sport as it tended to be a way for the British Army to train its soldiers. The British taught their soldiers to hold guns in the right hand while riding a horse. However, the sport originally started in Iran, and was eventually exported by the British army to their colonies meaning polo steadily grew in popularity.
What personality traits does it take to become a professional polo player?
A polo player is a highly-motivated person who loves horses and the challenges that the game throws up. Polo is a sport that requires commitment, time, dedication and patience. Those who decide to play polo are mostly driven by passion and a real love for horses.
What significance does polo have in the Middle Eastern region?
Polo is growing fast across the region with a calendar full of tournaments and a number of teams competing against other. Further progress has been made with the help of the authorities and through entities such as Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club that help introduce and nurture new talent. Competitiveness between the tournaments is important while a real positive development has been the addition to off-field activities such as more stables and sophisticated grooming techniques to keep the horses in great shape.
Head to the Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club on Saturday, December 2, for this year’s annual UAE National Day Polo Cup
When: Saturday, December 2, 2017
Time: From 12.30pm
Contact: +9714 361 8111 and [email protected]