Pakistan’s professional polo circuit has welcomed its first female player, Elena Venot from France. Venot, who has the highest handicap of 7 for a female player, was invited to play for BN Polo in the Century Ventures National Open Polo Championship for the Quaid-e-Azam Gold Cup 2023. The event is the most prestigious domestic polo championship in Pakistan, and Venot made a significant impact by scoring goals in every game. BN Polo emerged as the winner of the tournament, and Venot played a key role in their victory.
Venot’s passion for polo started at a young age, thanks to her father’s love for the sport. She began playing polo when she was seven years old and has since played in several countries worldwide, including the USA, Switzerland, Argentina, and now Pakistan. In 2021 and 2022, she played for both the ladies’ and mixed teams in Argentina, known as the “Mecca of Polo.”Venot’s appearance on Pakistan’s professional circuit has been a significant milestone for women in polo. In mixed polo games, women’s handicaps are assessed vis-a-vis the male players, and no woman has a mixed polo handicap of more than two. Venot’s mixed handicap is one, making her a sought-after player on the international polo circuit.
Speaking about her experience in Pakistan, Venot shared that she was thrilled to have been invited to play for BN Polo. She admits to feeling anxious and excited about being the first woman to play on Pakistan’s professional circuit but was grateful for the warm reception she received from the Lahore Polo Club. Venot played her first match on March 8, which is International Women’s Day, and she top-scored with four goals in BN Polo’s victory over FG Polo.
The final match against Master Paints Newage Cables was a festive affair, with the Lahore Polo Club filled with enthusiastic spectators. Venot contributed three goals to BN Polo’s 12-6 victory, and she is pleased to have been a part of the team’s winning streak. Venot’s historic appearance on Pakistan’s professional polo circuit is a testament to the sport’s inclusivity and diversity. Her passion for polo has taken her around the world, and her contributions to the sport have been inspiring for women and polo enthusiasts worldwide.