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Five minutes with British polo captain James Beim

By Carolyn Enting

Five minutes with British polo captain James Beim
Captain of the English polo team and Veuve Clicquot ambassador James Beim chats to MiNDFOOD ahead of this weekend's clash at the NZ Polo Open.

What do you love most about polo?
I’ve always loved horses and that’s the main thing about the game for me. My family is very sporty so the two combined. Sport and horses – polo was the perfect match.

When did you start playing?
Professionally when I was 17 but I started playing when I was 11.

How were you introduced to polo?
I come from a family that wasn’t very horsey. We had one horse between three of us kids and we used to do the pony club which is massive in England – show jumping and dressage – and one day a guy came along with some polo sticks and said we should have a go, and it went from there. Most of the polo players in England come via that system.

As captain of the English Polo team you’ve had the opportunity to play alongside Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry a few times. What’s it like playing with Royalty on your team. Do you have to change your behaviour or the way you think about the game?
No, they’re equals out on the field. We play as we would with anyone else. They play well. They know what they are doing, they are good players.

How do your opponents view you as a player?
You have to ask them but I’ve always been quite a good goal scorer.

You’re a seven goaler, what does that mean?
It’s similar to a golf handicap. It’s a rating on how you compare to the other players. There is more than one seven goaler. New Zealand has one eight goaler, the highest is 10. I’m England’s highest, which is seven. There’s a couple of us. So it’s reasonably up there but there’s room for improvement.

Polo is a pretty styley sport, particularly from the spectators point of view. How do you like to personally dress? How would you describe your sense of style?
I’m more of a jeans and T-shirt kind of guy but obviously there are a lot of big social days which are really nice to attend and we all get a bit dressed up for that. I’m Veuve Clicquot Ambassador for the time I’m here in New Zealand and I’ll get dressed up and look smart for them. They are a good fit for the sport.


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