Jaipur Riding & Polo Club
A good idea is Worthless without impeccable execution, passion and commitment to iterate.
In December 2022, we decided to host an International Ladies Polo Tournament in March 2023, to celebrate the International Women’s Day with a worldwide impact.
“Let other people play at other things, The King of games is still a game for Kings.” This verse is inscribed on a stone tablet beside the polo ground south of the fabled silk route from China to the West. Polo is truly been a sport of Kings since 2500 years or more of existence. Women players also feature in some of the earliest surviving representations of polo. Noorjahan wife of Mughal Emperor Jahangir of the 16th Century was also skilled at Polo. We want to revive the women’s participation and invited the Lady players of the current time to play this Royal Sport is Jaipur, which is the home of Polo in India at the Jaipur Riding & Polo Club. The Clubhouse has been built in the true Californian style with World Class Infrastructure, spread across 33 acres of landscape.
Col. Kuldeep Singh Garcha, President of the Jaipur Riding & Polo Club (JRPC) always says “Passion and Determination is the key factor, everything else will fall into place by itself. Dream, Plan and Climb. The world is there for you to Conquer.”
We don’t want to sell dreams, we unfold them and in true ‘dreams do come true’ story, we started our International Ladies Tournament on 8th March, 2023 on International Women’s Day. The Tournament was organized with the sole purpose to encourage and increase the number of Women Polo Players in India and rest of the World. The tournament started on 8th March 2023 with the Finals played on Sunday, 12th March 2023.
A total of 4 women’s team participated in the tournament competing for the “Jaipur Gold Cup”. The International Women teams participated from UK (Hurlingham Official), Ireland (Rubio Polo) and Czech Republic (Noe Polo Club) and of course our ladies team from Jaipur (JRPC).
The teams had an eclectic mix of budding and professional players with the Irish team coming in with 2 pros – Siobhan Herbst (+1) and Natasha Tisminsky (+1), the UK team with one – Charlotte Sweeney ( +1). The Czech team was an interesting mix of very young players with a savvy Argentine coach Santiago Oubina guiding them to win every match until the finals where they lost to Ireland in the last 30 seconds. The Indian team is coming up with loads of practice and players like Sanjula Mann and team captain Monique Van Haarst stood their ground against the experienced international players. The UK team was an official Hurlingham team and this mix of young and old, professional and amateur among the various teams truly helped in building the sisterhood on the field and off among all the polo players.
Katy Hayward, Patron of UK team said “It is an honour to be playing for our country in a ladies tournament at Jaipur Riding and Polo Club the same week as international women’s day. The opportunities in Polo for women have increased in the last few decades and being able to play somewhere with such heritage in the sport is a beautiful way to celebrate.”
A special mention here is that the HH Maharaja of Jodhpur Gaj Singh, a polo patron himself was the Chief Guest at the semi-finals. Bapji, as he fondly called then joined all the teams for a private dinner and tete-a tete at Col Garcha’s residence where all the teams were hosted for a lavish dinner.
The final match was played on 12th March 2023, between Ireland and Czech Republic. Welcome to the sound of thundering hooves running on lush green fields, the players with their suave personalities striking their mallets, eyes fixed on the goal post battling to strike the winning goal and the crowds cheering in the background. It was a very close match with both the teams at an equal score of 4 goals each in the 4th Chukker. Last 30 seconds Ireland scored a goal and emerged victorious.
“Happy and proud that our players win this International tournament and celebrate International Women’s Day in India and especially encouraged more gender parity in our beloved Sport” Said Rabii BENADADA, The Manager of Irish women team
Col KS Garcha, the founder and President of the Jaipur Riding and Polo Club is a polo legend internationally having won the Arjuna Award – India’s highest government award for sports. He has played polo in 28 countries, representing India for 20 years. Under his leadership, India reached the finals in 1995 and 2001. Needless to say, he is worldly-wise in the world of polo in particular and sportsmanship/camaraderie in general. It was a treat for all the budding players and the polo lovers gathered during the tournament to see him helping out the girls through every facet of the game. A splendid host as well as everybody was regaled by him through the numerous high teas and the dinner parties every evening.
Col Garcha’s motto is providing young players with opportunities and keeping the legacy of the heritage sport alive. The JRPC Club and the tournament stands witness to these wishes. As all the players and polo aficionados bade farewell to the club and their car swept through the bougainvillea blooming mile-long driveways of the club one last time, only the memories remained of healthy competition, meeting players from different countries and the cheerful coaches. The candlelit dinners in the back lawns, the never-ending pink and orange bougainvillea’s, the green of the well-kept polo fields and the friendly smiling staff – Bonus.
Here is to more women’s polo at the JRPC and to the growing sisterhood it is bringing in. We are already looking forward to the next season.