“When imagination meets the brave”, you get Rinaa Shah.
Our very own ‘knight in the shining armor’, Rinaa is commendably the first Indian woman polo player, a game that has been a topic of bravado for men for ages. An astute professional & an immensely creative force, Rinaa had her formal training in Fashion Design from New York and an Executive course in Business Management from Harvard.
Born with an adventurous spark, as a kid, she used to be glued to the soccer & basketball matches on TV and had always dreamt of landing in the sports circuit by herself. She completed her degree in Bharat Natyam and Kathak at the age of 21. After completing her education, she launched her own fashion label in 1997 with the name- ‘Rinaldi Designs’ that catered to premium high fashion footwear for women & kids. Pioneer in bridal footwear, the brand had its share of top celebrity clientele including the likes of Naomi Campbell, Natalie Portman, Goldie Hawn, Rekha, Shilpa Shetty, Kareena Kapoor just to name a few.
Rinaa has always been a sports junkie. From tennis & squash to sky diving & car racing, she always had a flair for high adrenaline sports. Despite tasting immense success as a fashion designer, Rinaa always had strong aspirations to professionally practice a sport. It all started around 2009 when a friend of her took her to a Polo match. She couldn’t set her eyes off the galloping horses and the men having all the pride in riding them their way. That’s when she decided to take up Polo professionally.
From the luxury & comfort of her studio to the nerve breaking rigorous schedule of Polo; the transition wasn’t easy. Despite most of her friends and family not being very sure about it, Rinaa could see her future in Polo & was determined to death to take up the furious challenge. Her first few years of sweat involved riding the horses. In 2011 she started training herself for Polo at the Mahalakshmi Race Course in Mumbai. A couple of falls and fractures from the horse during her initial training days, didn’t shatter her confidence, but made her more determined to take it up her shoes.
After training in Argentina and U.K, she earned herself great career accolades by winning two beginner polo tournaments in Jodhpur in a very short span of time. In the last couple of years, Rinaa has been consistent in the polo circuit playing back to back tournaments across the country. Last year saw her launching her own Polo team under the name ‘Rinaldi Polo’ that features India’s top names including Arjuna Award Winner- Samir Suhag, Chirag Parekh, Gaurav Sehgal and herself.
Horse Polo, now an integral part of her life, has started to impact her career & inspire her designs. She played recently for the UmaidBhavan polo Cup , The International Ladies tournament and won the HERMES cup in Jodhpur 2015 December and The Trunks Company polo Cup in 2017 .