Interview: Royal Selangor Polo Club’s Polo Captain, Shaik Reismann

Shaik ReismannHow did you get started in polo?

I started riding at the Royal Selangor Polo Club (RSPC) at a young age. My uncle was the club’s President at the time and played polo. It was natural for me to move from equestrian to play polo and I had the opportunity to play polo with my uncle’s ponies. I started playing polo when I was 12 years old.

How long have you been with RSPC?

I was Vice Polo Captain from 2000 to 2001, then Polo Captain during 2002 before taking a break. I was again Vice Polo Captain in 2007 and have been Polo Captain since 2008.

How have you been preparing for this year’s polo season?

I went to Argentina last year in November for playing and training. During December 2015 to January 2016, I played three tournaments in Pattaya – Thailand Equestrian Federation Cup, B. Grimm BMW Thai Polo Open and Thai Polo Masters. After the first quarter, I will continue with boot camp training as part of my physical workout.

What can we look forward to this year?

We will be in Perth at the end of February at the invitation of Perth Polo Club. Perth Polo Club has initiated a league between clubs in the region and we are delighted that RSPC is the first club invited to play. The invitation is reciprocal and we look forward to host Perth Polo Club later this year at RSPC.

As part of our internal tournaments this year, we have started for the first time One Day Internal Tournaments or “ODI”. ODIs shall be held on one Thursday a month, from March to October. The purpose for ODI is for making weekday chukkas more competitive and to provide opportunities for players who may have family commitments and are thus unable to play during our monthly weekend tournaments. This is also another occasion for family and social gatherings to enjoy at the club during ODI events. We are very pleased to have the garnered support of sponsors for ODI as well as our Monthly Weekend Tournaments.

In terms of RMPA Polo Leagues, RSPC will host one of each – the Merdeka League and the International League.

How accessible is polo in Malaysia?

Currently it is rather difficult and in my opinion it could be better, especially when it comes to hosting players visiting from overseas who would like to play when they are in Malaysia. The limited access to horses restricts the ability for polo clubs to host such players. All ponies are privately owned, which makes it challenging to mount such visitors from overseas, not only at RSPC but at other polo clubs in Malaysia.

Our club used to have polo ponies at the riding school in the 1990’s. However, there was not enough interest in polo during that time to keep them. Perhaps it may be timely to revive a polo school at RSPC. This would make it easier for newcomers to start playing polo and cater to visiting players in Malaysia to have a game.

shaikflag_p_seagames2007Which players do you admire?

Facundo Pieres. He is one of the best professional polo players in the world, with superb skill level and abilities. What he does in the field is hard to replicate.

What have been your most memorable moments in polo?

I have three memorable moments so far: winning the gold medal in polo during the SEA Games in 2007, winning the Thai Polo Open back to back in 2007 and 2008, and representing Malaysia in the FIP World Cup Polo Qualifiers in 2011.