At only 27 years old, Lia Salvo is today THE number 1 of the world feminin polo. Everybody struggle to have her, from polo teams to huge brands. It has been 6 years that she has stepped into the « La Martina » world, as she is its embassador. Lia tells us her beginnings, her secrets and also how she managed her profesional life with her personal one. So, who said polo was only made for « dudes », uh ?!
Last name :
2 men and 9 women
Tell us how did you enter into the Polo world?
I started to play polo at the age of 10. I played my very first time in America (the city I was born, in Argentina) in the countryside, and also at the Namuncura club. My dad is the one who introduced me to this world and the one who always supported me while he was (and still is) my teacher!
At what age did you play your first game?
I started to stick and ball at the age of 9 when the force of my wrist and arm was strong enough. It is at 10 years old that I played my first real game !
Passionate of the horse or the sport?
It started with the love of horses, which i have inside of me since my young age. They were the one that brought me onto the polo field, and thanks to them i get to learn new things every day. Horses will always comme first.
How could you define the feminine polo today?
I would define it as a sport in development for the last 5 years, that has not reached its peak yet. We live in an era of change of players, horses and type of game. This change is seen through the technique of these new players : mental speed, attitude on and off the field. There is a big difference of the technique for the daughters of the great players, that has practically played since they were born and had always had a good example to follow. This allowed them to have a game much more thoughtful and technical. All these factors and the great improvement of the polo horses polo make the feminine polo much prettier and fun to watch.
On the field, are you treated like a « normal » player or do you feel that there is a certain « distance » ?
There is a physical difference between men and women, which is inevitable and will always exist. This sport requires a great technique to ride properly and hit the ball correctly. I also think that it is the technique that allows women to play a match at « equality » with men.
What is it like to be one of the best players in the world?
I do not see me like that! Instead, I try everything I am missing out, to be the best. Lately I play a lot of mixed polo and I feel that it helps me to grow and improve. I think sometimes be the « worst » on the ground helps to excel and skip a step, not yet crossed … I am trying to dedicate myself to it right now!
How do you manage work and personal life?
It is not easy, and never was. So far this has not really bothered me. It is true that the fact of having to leave my country and my family every year is difficult. This season started differently thanks to El Paso Polo Ranch team which I will exclusively play with this year. It allows me to stay in Argentina and it makes me very happy.
What brands do you represent today?
I am the ambassador for La Martina for 6 years now, and KIA Motors Argentina for 3 years. I also have great support from « La Taquera » (polo mallets) and ONA (polo gloves) since 2008.
Tell us about your daily routine
During the polo season, my life is dedicated to horses. Riding, stick and ball and get in shape before each match. I’m pretty strict with the good functioning of the stables because I like everything to be perfect, both my staff and my horses !!To return to the question, I give much importance to my physical condition. I train three times a week with my coach Alfredo Altuna, which helps me to strengthen, but also to challenge myself.I try not to forget the other activities that I have always loved such as gardening, playing the piano, or embroidery!
What are your plans for 2015?
Finish the fall season here, then go play in Italy, England and then to the United States before returning in September to play the big Argentinean season!
I remember a few years ago during a polo tournaments I was playing in Pilar, my father watched the game from his car, telling me what I should do and criticizing my playing partners! It was at this point that the referee decided to stop the game and ask the gentleman who was shouting on the other side of the field, to leave. I denied that i knew him and agreed to ask him nicely to leave !! Since that day I thought it was not going to ever happen again, I was wrong (laughs) !!
America my gray mare, which has the same name as the city where I was born in Argentina!
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« Sonate au clair de lune » by Beethoven.