Regent’s University London students Ben Duckworth and Syed Hassan Kirmani have been awarded the Filippo Corsini Polo Scholarship – a prestigious scholarship that recognises outstanding polo skills and leadership acumen.
The scholarship, launched in 2017 in partnership with the Federation of International Polo, is named in memory of Prince Filippo Corsini, a Regent’s student and accomplished equestrian and showjumper.
To recognise Ben and Syed’s achievements, we sat down to speak with them about their polo careers to date and their journey at Regent’s.
I started playing polo when I joined Regent’s around two years ago. At school I played a lot of hockey but I’d never played polo or even ridden a horse before so I decided to go along to a taster session. The speed and competitiveness of the game got me hooked.
I’ve always been quite sporty, and I think in many ways sport and business come hand in hand. The skills I’ve developed through playing polo have really helped me to understand how to work in a business environment, and communicate and work effectively within a team. In business, you’ll always have to work with people and be a great team player – this is the same as polo.
I think the fact that I hadn’t really played polo before helped me secure the scholarship at Regent’s. The University really encourages people who have never played – or in my case have never even been on a horse – to try it out, which I think is important. The club is relatively new and a bit smaller than other clubs, but I am currently trying to build up a committee so we can recruit more members!
Syed Hassan Kirmani
I first became interested in polo through my grandfather who played Neza Bazi when I was growing up in Pakistan. My father suggested I try riding and eventually he introduced me to polo. What I have learnt most through polo is the importance of dedication. I only started riding at the age of twelve. Most players had been riding since they were five or six, so to compete, I really had to commit my spare time to polo. I just enjoyed polo so much and realised what an opportunity it is to be able to play the sport.
In 2018, I played at a national level in Pakistan including matches against military teams. I took some time out to focus on high school at the start of 2019, but coming to Regent’s as a Filippo Corsini Polo Scholar has given me the opportunity to start playing again. The scholarship is the reason I chose to study at Regent’s – if I had studied elsewhere in London I wouldn’t be playing polo today.
Through polo I’ve met people from around the world, including players who are eight goalers and nine goalers. As a business student the transferable skills I’ve gained from networking – as well as simply managing the resources involved in playing polo – has been invaluable.
I’m adjusting to playing in the UK and really enjoying it so far but there are differences. For example, in Pakistan we are careful about the heat when we’re playing. In the UK we’re careful about the cold and horses can ride for longer!
Raising the profile of the sport
To learn more about the Filippo Corsini Polo Scholarship and the University’s polo club, or to enquire about partnering with Regent’s to raise the profile of polo in higher education, please contact Dave Lewis at [email protected]