You can take Rajkumar Karan Vijay Singh out of Jodhpur, but you can't take polo out of him. The prince of Jodhpur, whose arrival in Ludhiana on Saturday to participate in the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Polo Championship was nothing less than a surprise, was animated while talking about his love for the game and horses. "It's like a drug that you can't stop taking," he said, when explaining his love for polo.
As a captain of the Royal Rangers team, Singh played two action-packed matches on Saturday, followed by another on Sunday, the culmination day. Catching up with the great grandson of Maharaja Sardar Singh, just before he stepped into the field, it was also reassuring to find that the passionate polo player is grounded and humble apart from being zealous about equestrian sports.
"This is my first time in Ludhiana and I'm so happy with the way the championship has been organised and people's warm hospitality," smiled Singh, 50, as he looked around at the fields of Isewal village near Ludhiana. Drawn to polo after being inspired by his family tradition, Singh also claims to have been the first from his family to revive the sport after the Partition. "I was in my 20s in the early '90s when I helped revive the game," he says, adding that his passion for the sport encouraged many corporate houses to approach him to represent them. "Polo took me around the world and the same goes for many others who are a part of it. The sport has introduced me to various cultures, traditions and above all, has gifted me with real friends across the globe. They often invite me to their countries and I invite them to India," he smiles.
To be a pro at the sport, Singh says one needs to have hot blood, but a cool head. The passionate player is also quick to add that another requirement for a polo player is love for the horses, who make 70 per cent of the effort in the game. "In fact, right after a match, I make it a point to go and see my horse before proceeding for an after-match party. I need to ensure that the horse is fine and not suffering from any injury or discomfort," says Singh, who owns as many as 10 horses in Jodhpur, whom he has given beautiful names such as Spirit, Hope, Music, Sundance and Papaya and whom he treats like family.