About Time You Met: Polo Player Nina ClarkinBy Angelica Malin
Nina Clarkin is England’s top female polo player and has been instrumental in the development of Women’s Polo. During her stellar career, which has seen her play all over the world, she has obtained a record number of Argentina Women’s Open titles and was the first woman to win the British Open for the Gold Cup. We chatted to Nina about playing at the world’s biggest polo festival – Chestertons Polo in the Park – her love of the game and polo’s rise in popularity:
When did your love for Polo first begin and what does it mean to be a professional female polo player today?
I started playing polo when I was 6 years old in the local pony club and turned professional when I left university at 21. I have always loved the sport and the older I get the more I love it. To be a professional polo player today is great! The number of opportunities available to female players today is huge compared to when I first started. I play a lot in England which I love, but there are also a lot of chances to travel internationally.
You are named as England’s top female polo player – what does it take to achieve this title?
To be honest, I don’t think too much about the title. I just work hard on myself and my ponies and I am constantly trying to improve myself and my game. I love the sport and want to play for as long as I can, to the best level I can.
Playing polo takes you all over the world, what have been some of your most memorable experiences?
Travelling abroad is one of the many great aspects of the sport. I have wonderful memories of representing England in the European Championships in France when I was 18 and also of travelling to Spain and Mexico for The World Cup. I played in a number of “Battle of the Sexes” in Barbados and Jamaica which were amazing tours. There are too many to mention and I am grateful for that as the memories are amazing and will always be with me.
You are playing at Chestertons Polo in the Park in June, tell us about the tournament and the match you are partaking in?
Chesterton’s Polo in the Park is a great event and it is so cool that polo gets to be played in the centre of London. I am playing in an international match which is England against Ireland. I am so excited to be representing England once again, it is always an honour and a privilege to represent my country!
What are your hopes for the sport in the future?
I hope that polo continues to enjoy the growth that we are seeing at the moment. We still need to see more people entering the sport at the grassroots level. Women’s polo is the fastest-growing sector of the sport and it makes me so happy to see it enjoying such success and growth, I hope that this continues. I also want to see more people enjoying the sport that I love so much and this is why this Chesterton’s Polo in the Park is such a great event.
What do you love most about the game?
I love the ponies and working closely with them to make sure they are as good as they can be because I am nothing without them. I also love the speed of the game and how technically challenging it is.
What advice would you give to someone that wants to get involved in the sport, either as a player or spectator?
Search out your local club, call them up or go along, watch a game and meet some players and take it from there. There are so many clubs around the country that love to welcome new people and if you are brave enough to have a go, you won’t regret it!
For more information on Chestertons Polo in the Park, see here