“I used to watch people play every day and decided to try. I’ve been addicted ever since”
For many people, polo is an addiction. Once you ride, stick and ball, and eventually play games, the adrenaline and fun you get is impossible to find elsewhere. That’s exactly what happened four years ago to Thai TV star Sonia Pim Couling. After riding since she was a kid and training in classical dressage, Sonia played her first chukkas at King Power Polo Club, where she kept her horses. “I used to watch people play every day and decided to try. I’ve been addicted ever since,” Sonia told CLICKPOLO.
As if she wanted to make up for lost time, Sonia played in as many tournaments as she could, arena or outdoors and travelled around the world. From Thailand to England, USA in New York, Palm Springs and Los Angeles, China, and even played the French Open In Chantilly and trained in Argentina.
Some of her most precious memories include winning the Copa Argentina in Pattaya in 2017, the Hollywood Cup in LA, the King Power International Ladies tournament in 2018 and the Polo Escape International Ladies Tournament last year.
With her team “Marengo Polo Team”, named after her first horse, Sonia is one of the two Thai female players that played at this level outside of her country, and she hopes to travel again soon to encourage more women to get into the sport.
-Being a TV star, how do you combine your work and passion for polo?
"Because of who I am in Thailand and a familiar face in TV, I have been blessed to have various products and brands sponsor myself or my team and hence manage to combine my passion and work. Been invited to many TV shows to talk about polo and introduce this beautiful sport to a wider audience and to brands who have never sponsored or advertised this sport before, including water and skincare. USPA Thailand sponsors and provides all my team shirts for every tournament.
I have been able to introduce the world of polo to my loyal fans who come to cheer at every game, creating such a fun atmosphere for all. So blessed to be a non-professional polo player, and still get paid to play. :)"
-Where do you now and what are your goals?
"My goal is to play in as many countries and tournaments as possible and look forward to being able to travel again. Building a new name for my team, meeting new people and getting as much experience as I can. Currently only playing practice chukkas in King Power Thailand and occasionally in Chantilly as I’m now based in France."
-What do you consider are the most important tournaments you played?
"I enjoy all the tournaments I choose to play and consider them all important as I’m really competitive and prefer to play to win haha!"
-Have you made friends or met new people thanks to polo?
"I have met many wonderful players, both professionals and amateurs, and would like to thank this amazing sport for bringing good people together. Some have become very close friends. Thanks to King Power, I have had the chance to play on some of the most amazing dream horses or unicorns as I like to call them."
-Do you have any personal stories regarding polo?
"Well, not exactly polo injuries, but before every big Thai tournament for the last two years, I went snowboarding and broke something haha! Last year was my coccyx, this year was my left wrist. Had to play with these injuries and have been banned from snowboarding again before tournaments from my teammates haha!
Currently in a hand cast as we speak, after cutting myself on a can of tuna and just had 8 stitches under my thumb (that time of year again haha!). "
-What does polo mean to you?
"It has become such an important part of my life and passion and can’t imagine life without it."
-What is your dream as a polo player?
"To keep playing, keep learning and hopefully, keep winning."
-What does polo mean to you?
"Polo is my biggest passion and addiction."
-What can you say about polo in Thailand?
"Polo in Thailand has grown tremendously over the years and continues to grow, thanks to the two big clubs we have. Many wonderful tournaments are held each year and many great friends from neighboring countries participating. Great fun on and off the fields. Each year we have a long list of new players interested to learn and classes are being taught to lots of potential players on a daily basis, especially to females. Which is wonderful to see."