Bringing The Sport To The Masses: Gohilwad Polo Club
The inauguration of a full-fledged Polo society for the people of Gujarat
Captured with an essence of mysteriousness and detailing in the ethos of the preserved history of the state of Lion, is the sport played on horseback. One of the oldest team sports, Polo has had a major play in the princely state of Gujarat with a vast and rich history associated with it. The game termed as, ‘Hockey on horseback’ has had a long past with the state but for some time now, the game was sufficed to limited provinces in the state. In an effort to bring back Polo to the state, Jayvir Gohil organized a Polo match at the Surat horse show to move forward with the game. A dream to establish a Polo Season and a league for the masses in the state compelled Jayvir to open a full-fledged Polo Club for the People of the state. The Gohilwad Polo Club was inaugurated by Jayvir on 1st July 2019 as an effort to bring back the legacy of the sport to the people of the state.
In a few casual conversations and a formal interview with LA POLO, Jayvir Gohil, a polo player from the state of Gujarat and the president of Gohilwad Polo Club talked about the popularity and methodology of the sport in Gujarat. The man behind the 2019 edition of Surat Horse Show, where Polo was played for the first time in 70 years, Jayvir pleasantly talked about the opening of a full-fledged Polo Club in the state of Gujarat. A will to bring back the sport in the state persuaded Jayvir to train players and horses to conduct a Polo season in the state along with minor leagues to introduce to the people the legacy of the Blue-blooded sport. Talking about the account of Polo in Surat, he said, “Polo was played for the first time in 70 years in the city of Surat and people turned in so large numbers just for the exhibition arena Polo match. The agile crowd and their willingness to participate in the game shows how much the people of Surat love equine sports. This has compelled us to organize the event more vividly for the next year and the kind of response the Polo match was quite overwhelming and it felt like the purpose of the 2019 Horse Show was fulfilled.”
Image Caption: Horse facility at the Gohilwad Polo Club
In a tête-à-tête over the phone, we talked about the Gohilwad Polo Club and the future perspective of Mr. Jayvir with the club. Flourishing with joy and ready to bring a change in the realm of Polo, Jayvir nicely explained, “Located on the countryside, the Gohilwad Polo Club is ready with a proper grass field for Polo which is spread across an area of 100 metre by 100 metre while the riding facility is measured at 80 by 40 meter. The club is ready for action, to begin with a total of 14 horses, out of which 10 are registered with IPA, along with proper club facilities.” Talking about his dream of bringing the sport to the masses, Jayvir quoted “The club is open for all and focuses on training and bringing in new players from the state. It is more of an organized facility for the equestrian lovers as we have announced a membership for the club. Along with access to all the facilities of the club, the membership includes the training and grooming of the players interested to go ahead with the sport.” With the membership costing Rs 25000/annually, Jayvir is serious about the condition of the sport in the state and ready to get the sport to larger crowds.
Image Caption: Clubhouse Facility at the Gohilwad Polo Club
Addressing the problem of owning horses, Jayvir mentioned, “It won’t be necessary to own horses during the initial phase of training for the students and budding players can rent horses and see if they’re comfortable on a horseback. Now open for the public, the club is fully equipped with proper medical staff and facilities that fulfill all the regulations of Indian Polo Association.” A proper equestrian arena along with the Polo field has been designed to train the students the art of showjumping, dressage and other equestrian activities. “The club won’t be limited to just one sport. The objective behind the club was to promote equestrian activities in the state. We would be planning some innovative equestrian games which will not only bind the students with the sport but will also act as an ice-breaker with the horse and the trainer.”
A Polo Season in Gujarat has been on the cards for some time now and he wishes to move ahead with it as soon as the club is registered under the Indian Polo Association. Jayvir plans to organize a Polo league, if not a season, for the people that may last for a week or so. Gohilwad Polo Club is equipped with the latest hardware and technology. Sharing his experiences with us, Jayvir explained how Polo is different in the state of Rajasthan than in Gujarat.ite in Rajasthan and Delhi while in Gujarat, people come in masses and love to enjoy the spirit of the game and Gohilwad Polo Club focuses on gathering the masses. The morale of the players and the horses is also boosted when a crowd of thousands cheers for them and it drives them to give their best.”
Image Caption: Facilities at Gohilwad Polo Club
When asked about the present state of the sport in Surat and how does he wishes to improve that, Jayvir answered, “Most of the people here are just influenced by the fact that something would happen for the first time. They have no proper knowledge about the sport and some of them don’t even know what we players do riding on the horseback. Our community, that comprises of Narendra Singh and Mr. Vijay, wants to organize Polo on a large scale in the state. We’ve made a proper plan for it and we wish to work accordingly by next year or so.”