The Hyderabad polo team has plans up its sleeve, backed by Ram Charan Tej

Each year, with the arrival of the polo season, we remember the sport of kings and turn the spotlight on it. The players grab the limelight before the attention shifts to glamorous women watching the game. Off the field, there's the more glamorous polo ball to look forward to. Then, the game is pushed to the recesses of our minds until the next season. Actor Ram Charan Tej hopes to change all this by becoming the owner of the Hyderabad polo team. He wants to ensure better visibility for the sport, and draw students from schools and colleges to the game.

He recalls being fascinated with horses when he was barely five. “I first saw horses on the sets of my dad's films. I was fascinated and wanted to ride one. If my father hadn't allowed me to ride horses then, I wouldn't be the owner of the Hyderabad polo team today,” he reminisces. Before turning an actor, he went through the mandatory coaching in acting, dancing and horse riding. While most actors look at horse riding as an additional talent that comes in handy while shooting for stunt sequences, Ram Charan went a step further. He wanted to be part of the sport. 

Today, as polo shifts gears from being an army sport to one that draws civilian players into its fold, Ram Charan decided to take up the ownership when his friend and player Chaitanya Kumar brought up the idea. He is likely to be the owner of the RC Hyderabad Polo and Riding Club for four to five years and is the first actor to own a polo team in the country.     

Special steward Siraj Attari feels this will help attract both funding and prospective players. “Ram Charan taking over will help to increase awareness levels. Isn't awareness everything?” he asks. Further, there are plans to revive the now defunct AP Riding Club and develop an exclusive sports complex. “The government has allotted 25 acres for a polo complex and 10 acres to set up a riding club,” adds Attari.

The team that includes well known players Dhruvpal Godara and Samir Suhag along with local lads Rohit Reddy and Chaitanya Kumar will be off to Argentina next month for the World Cup Polo tournament. “We are looking forward to the coaching camp in Jaipur. I have our dietary and fitness charts in place,” says captain Samir Suhag. He wants to clear the misconception of polo being considered an elitist sport. “Dhruv and I come from humble backgrounds,” he points out.  

Sporty stars

Cricket tops the list with many actors having been active players at the state level and participating in the Celebrity Cricket League.

Golf: Director Mani Ratnam, actors Madhavan and Sumnath love to tee off while not working.

Sky diving: He was terrified to ‘let go' in Zindagi na Milegi Dobara but Farhan Akhtar revels in sky diving.

Scuba diving and deep-sea diving: Lara Dutta and Katrina Kaif learnt scuba diving and deep sea diving while working on their respective films while others like Shriya, Sameera Reddy, Nagarjuna and Amala are regular divers.

Rugby: Rahul Bose is the only actor to have been the captain of the Indian rugby team.