“The key to living is to have passion in what you do. See the beauty in life, see opportunity in obstacles and inspire through respect”. It’s my personal philosophy and one I carry through to what I do with The Man Has Style also. I’m always on the look out for others who I believe live this same way. The people that inspire me. I recently met International Polo Player, Ameer Jumabhoy and was instantly inspired by his passion for life and in what he does. We have had some great conversations since and I want to share with you all his story.
TMHS: Polo is a big part of your life. How did you find yourself involved with polo?
AJ: I was born into a polo family. My grandfather was the first one who started playing at the age of 26 and my dad and all his siblings grew up around the Singapore Polo Club. As a child I remember going to watch my dad play and some of my earliest memories are of my riding lessons when I was around 5. I guess I have always been around horses so the progression into polo was quite seamless. I guess you could say that I grew up on a saddle!
TMHS: Tell me more about La Sarita.
AJ: La Sarita is something very special to me. Sara is my sister and we named our family team La Sarita after her- it means ‘little Sara’ in Spanish. Family and polo go together very well and you will often find polo players who are the 3rd or 4th generation of players in their family. La Sarita brings us all together and when the team is playing, it is great to be able to share the field with my brother and father while my sisters, grandfather and mother are ever present cheerleaders on the side. My sisters love riding but don’t really want to play polo so it works very well for us as it means we don’t have to fight over horses most of the time!
TMHS: For those who don’t know much about polo, where is a good place to start to learn?
AJ: The great thing about the sport is that it is such an international game that there are so many places where one can pick it up and learn. My suggestion would be to do a simple internet search to find out where the nearest polo facility is and simply give them a ring and enquire as to how one could go about learning. More often than not, people in the polo world are thrilled to teach new members and get them addicted to the game. It is great to see so many new people all over the world picking up the game and I hope this will help in making it more mainstream. The misconception people have is that polo is expensive and up to a certain level that is true; however, at the beginner level, one does not have to spend crazy money to enjoy the sport. In fact, it can be very affordable.
TMHS: You have achieved some wonderful accomplishments in your career. What are some stand out moments for you over this time?
AJ: From a sporting aspect, the biggest highlight of my career was the 2010 Royal Malaysian Polo Association International final in which La Sarita ended up champions. It is one of the ‘grand prix’ tournaments in Southeast Asia and I hope that this year the team has another strong year in which we are able to win. I was also proud to have won the Audemars-Piguet Gold and Silver Cups in 2009 and 2010 which are the biggest tournaments to win in Singapore. I’ve had many amazing opportunities in the sport, being able to take polo to the Houston Rodeo in 2013 and being part of the organising committee for charity polo games like Charity Chukker (2013) and Horses & Hats (2012) represent some of my fondest memories of bringing polo to the masses and raising social awareness for causes that I feel are close to my heart.
TMHS: Your passion for charity work is quite inspiring. I was especially moved by your story relating to cancer. Your positivity and outlook on life is nothing short of exceptional. Tell me more how you came to start the Golden Goals project and what you have achieved so far – and aim to achieve in the future through this project.
AJ: The Golden Goals project began in 2010 when two people close to me were diagnosed with cancer. I was greatly affected and wanted to combat the disease but as a Political Science major, it was tough to do in the academic world! My attention shifted to polo and I approached the Texas Children’s Hospital with a proposal that I would get sponsors to donate US$10 for every goal I score and all the money would go towards fighting paediatric cancer. I was overwhelmed by the support and in the first year we raised US$27,000. Since then, I have had the opportunity to use Golden Goals as a platform to raise awareness for breast cancer and fertility treatment awareness for women in Malaysia, together with the royal family, as well as paediatric cancer treatment in Pakistan. To date, I am proud to say that through projects I have worked with, close to US$200,000 has been raised for various social causes and I hope it doesn’t stop there – perhaps one day in the future I will have the pleasure of doing something in Australia!
TMHS: In August 2013, you were appointed brand ambassador to La Martina, a fashion label and polo brand from Argentina. Tell me more of this partnership.
AJ: This partnership actually started (unofficially) way back in 2002. I was in Argentina on my first polo trip outside Singapore and my dad took me to this new boutique called La Martina that made both polo technical equipment as well as polo inspired fashion. The store I went to was in the Arribeños area of Buenos Aires and I was instantly taken aback by how beautiful the shop was. More than that, the first shirt I saw in the store was a Singapore #4 shirt- a replica of the shirt that my dad wore at the 2001 World Cup Qualifiers in Pakistan. I still have that shirt in my cupboard. In July last year I was driving with my dad to play a tournament in Malaysia when I got a call from Adrian Simonetti, the CEO of La Martina. He told me that Asia did not have a representative for the brand and he asked if I would like to come on board. I said yes without any hesitation. Today, La Martina has made waves in the fashion world and I am proud to be appointed as an ambassador at such an exciting time in the brand’s history.
TMHS: Polo has taken you to many countries outside of your home of Singapore, including Argentina, the United States, Malaysia, Thailand, Pakistan and Australia. Do you have any plans to return to play in Australia? It would be great to see you play here!
AJ: I would love to have the opportunity to come back and play in Australia. I have fantastic memories of playing in Yaloak and visiting Geelong. To me, these places represent the real Australia and have some of the nicest people I have met. It would be great to return as I have not played Down Under since I was 14. I will do my best to fit it into my schedule, perhaps for 2015!
TMHS: How would you describe your style?
AJ: I would say I tend to dress to suit the occasion. If I’m at a black tie I prefer paying homage to my ethnicity by wearing an Indian sherwani. I am very comfortable in suits for meetings (knit ties are a personal favourite accessory) and for dinners and during the day, I can be quite relaxed in a simple t-shirt and a pair of shorts. I think there’s a right time and place to wear a specific outfit.
TMHS: Favourite places to shop for menswear?
AJ: La Martina! Without a doubt, it combines all the best elements of what it means to play polo. The smell of freshly cut leather, the numbers on the shirts, the logos and patches… these remind me of being at a game and really bring the thrill of game into the world of fashion. It’s the perfect match.
TMHS: Three things you can’t do without in your day?
AJ: My iPhone, sunglasses and cologne. Fresh, cool and always connected!
TMHS: Where can readers of The Man Has Style find out more about Ameer Jumabhoy?
AJ: Readers can follow me on my social media:
and on my website www.ameerjumabhoy.com
I also love interacting with my fans and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
For La Martina, you can visit www.lamartina.com
TMHS: Any final words for readers of The Man Has Style?
AJ: I would just like to say a big thank you for giving me the chance to tell my story in The Man Has Style. I hope many of the readers will support me in my polo initiatives, I really can’t do it without the supporters I have all over the world. Do follow me on my social media and I would love to interact with you guys as well! Hope everyone is having a great year and all the best for future successes to come!