Polo is arguably the oldest recorded team sport in known history, with the first matches being played in Persia over 2,500 years ago.
Thought to have been created by competing tribes of Central Asia and then adopted as a training method for the King’s elite cavalry, it was adopted as the most noble of pastimes by Kings, Emperors and Caliphs, as a result, it became known across ancient lands as “the game of kings”.
British officers themselves re-invented the game in 1862 after seeing a horsemanship exhibition in Manipur, India. The sport was introduced into England in 1869, and seven years later sportsman James Gordon Bennett imported it to the United States. After 1886, English and American teams occasionally met for the International Polo Challenge Cup. Polo was on several Olympic games schedules, but was last an Olympic sport in 1936.
Modern polo is played on grass, a full-size field being 275 metres (300 yards) long and 180 metres (200 yards) wide if un-boarded, or 140 metres (160 yards) if boarded.
Two teams of four players mounted on horses compete to put an 8.8cm ball (today commonly made of a synthetic material, but in more ancient times from a root, “pulu” in Tibetan, which probably accounts for the origin of the name of the sport) through goal posts standing at one end or the other of the field and the teams change ends after each goal scored.
A complete polo match consists of either 6 or 8 periods or chukkas of 7 minutes each. The play is usually so intense that players normally require to mount fresh horses after each chukka.
Set on the grounds of the Singapore Polo Club, ATOMS Polo Academy was started in October 2020. It is a unique place to learn to play polo in a safe, fun and exciting environment for children 5 years old and above.
With about 250 riders, the academy’s local and visiting international coaches will teach students how to ride for polo even if they have never sat on a horse before.
Founded in 1886, the Singapore Polo Club is one of the oldest polo clubs in the world. It is set in 24 acres of lush tropical grounds and within a short distance to the city’s vibrant business and commercial districts.
Its newly renovated clubhouse with its colonial era open veranda, provides expansive views over this green oasis whilst providing an elegant yet understated ambience. The Club has the one and only regulation size grass polo field in Singapore, an international standard covered arena, as well as a number of other outdoor arenas for polo and other equestrian activities. More than being just a polo club, it is a lifestyle club with facilities for dining, tennis, fitness as well as 15 new and upcoming accommodation options. It also has its own tack shop – Atoms Polo Loft, for equipment and supplies from some of the world’s best known polo brands.
Some notable achievements by the Singapore Polo Club include representing Singapore in Polo in the 2007 and 2017 SEA Games and clinching the Silver Medal and coming in 4th place respectively.
Other prominent tournaments include the inaugural BMW Singapore Beach Polo Championship 2016 that was held in Sentosa, Sentebale Royal Salute Polo Cup 2017 where Prince Harry played at the Singapore Polo Club to raise funds for his Sentebale charity, BMW Women’s International Polo Tournament 2017, BMW Women’s International Polo Tournament 2017 and Prudential Ladies’ International Tournament 2018.