Hissam Hyder, Pakistan’s leading polo player, will be participating in the Northern India Polo Championship [NIP] in Delhi, India from 11 to 17 February 2013. Indeed, the 20 goal tournament is among the most prestigious fixtures of the sub-continental polo circuit and features up to 6 teams with international polo talent. Hissam, the only player from Pakistan to feature in the tournament, will be playing for ‘Team Elevation’ alongside Satinder Garcha (2 handicap) and Druv Pal Godara (4 handicap) from India and Ignacio Tocolino (8 handicap) from Argentina. The Northern India Polo Championship employs a league based format with a duration of 6 chukkers per match.
Speaking about his team’s prospects at the NIP Championship, Hissam said; “The Northern India Polo Championship features high goal teams with seasoned polo professionals and well-maintained horses. I look forward to representing Pakistan as a player alongside other high goal players from South Africa, England and Argentina.”
Comparing the level of polo infrastructure in India and Pakistan, Hissam further adds; “Both countries have tremendous talent and it’s heartening to see that the level of interest in the sport is climbing on both sides of the border. The Indian Association of Polo has done well to encourage the private sector to invest in the sport, a move which is now paying dividends for them. In Pakistan, investment in the sport of polo is gradually increasing and has resulted in the creation of polo grounds of international standards, but there is still need for sizeable investment to promote the game at a grass roots level.”
With a handicap of 6 goals, Hissam Hyder is presently ranked in the top 5% of the world’s polo players. Hissam has been named as the most valuable player in Pakistan on 6 different occasions and has been on the winning team of 7 National Polo Championships in Pakistan. Internationally he has participated in top, high goal tournaments such as the 2012 Dubai Trophy in England, the 2012 Cope Presidente and the 2011 Duke of Cornwall Trophy among many others.
This is first time that Hissam Hyder will be participating in the Northern India Polo Championship. He will continue his polo tour of India by participating in the Maharaja Jiwaji Rao Scindia Gold Cup, which commences on 19 February 2013.
About Hissam Hyder:
Hissam Hyder is Pakistan’s leading polo player who has fast established himself as one of Asia’s rising polo stars. Born into a sports playing family in 1982, his father Irfan Ali Hyder and grandfather Brig. “Gussy” Hyder, were both prominent polo players, with a handicap of 4 goals and 1 goal respectively. Hissam has eclipsed them both with a handicap of 6 goals and is presently ranked in the top 5% of the world’s polo players.
Hissam started playing professional polo in 2001 at the age of nineteen and has since participated in the sport’s most prestigious local and international Polo tournaments.He has been named as the most valuable player in Pakistan on6 different occasions and has been on the winning team of 7 National Polo Championships in Pakistan.
Internationally he has participated in top, high goal tournaments such as the 2012 Dubai Trophy in England, the 2011 Duke of Cornwall Trophy, the 2011 Valerie Halford Memorial Trophy, the 2010 Thai Polo Open and the 2012 Cope President among many others. He has also participated in the final of the Estimulo in Argentina, unarguably one of the most competitive tournaments of the International polo circuit.
Hissam has also represented the Pakistani Polo team officially in 3 different World Cups. He participated in the qualifying stages of the 1999 World Cup held in India and the 2007 World Cup played in New Zealand. He also has the distinction of representing Pakistan in the main stage of the 2003 World Cup held in France.
Hissam has also been affiliated with some of the world’s most prestigious teams and has played alongside legendary polo players from around the globe. These include Memo Gracida, Player of the Centennial Era and Polo Hall of Fame inductee;Howard Hipwood, arguably the best English polo player ever and Bautista Heguy, another leading Argentinian 10-goaler.
He has also played professionally for the Hong Kong team and the Royal Jordanian team in International tournaments. In 2013 he will play for the Shalimar Polo Team in the UK, the Harilela Polo team in Thailand and UK, the Elevation Polo team in India and Argentina, the Tashan Polo team in UK, the Golden Falcons Polo team in UK and he will also represent either the Newage or Hataff Polo teams when they play in Pakistan.
With the lack of infrastructural support for polo in Pakistan, Hissam continues to finance his international career entirely from his own resources. Furthermore, Hissam is the only Pakistani professional player to have his own string of ponies available to him year-round. He maintains his stables in the United Kingdom and Argentina.
Hissam’s commitment to polo goes beyond being just a sportsman. He has used his affiliation with the sport, to raise funds for charities and other needy organizations. Most notably, he took part in various exhibition matches in Jordan to help the victims of the 2010 floods in Pakistan and is always willing to provide a helping hand to worthy causes. Quite apart from polo, Hissam is a passionate sportsman with an interest and good degree of ability for other sporting disciplines such as golf and tennis.