New Zealand - Westlake Girls High School to Install London Blue Poligras Olympia Hockey Pitch

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Alan Wills

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  • New Zealand - Westlake Girls High School to Install London Blue Poligras Olympia Hockey Pitch

New Zealand - Westlake Girls High School to Install London Blue Poligras Olympia Hockey Pitch

North Shore Auckland’s Westlake Girls High School in New Zealand will be one of the first to lay the London Blue Poligras Olympia pitch in the world.

The London Organising Committee of Olympic Games 2012 (LOCOG) along with the International Hockey Federation (FIH) announced on 28 March that the Olympic Park Hockey Centre will feature pitches in blue with pink boundaries at all sides.

The pitches for both the London Olympic Games and the Westlake school have been designed and manufactured by the Sports Technology International (STI). In addition to the London Blue Poligras Olympia blue pitch; the school has also signed an agreement with STI to construct some other sports fields namely 2 x Ligaturf Premier Football Fields, 3 x Laykold Netball / Tennis Courts, Supergrasse Cricket Pitch and Ligaturf Cricket Pitch Surrounds.

All these sports facilities are being upgraded in school by the Principal Alison Gernhoefer, who is to leave after 30 years of service and pronounces it as her farewell gift.

The project is worth multi-million dollars and according to the STI New Zealand’s National Sales Manager Shane Page; it is the largest artificial project to be carried out across the Asia-Pacific.

The shift from a traditional green turf to a totally innovative colour was quite new. The LOCOG Sports Director Debbie Jevans said, “As we look to be innovative as well as providing first class facilities, we are pleased to be working with the International Hockey Federation and installing blue hockey pitches in 2012. We have carried out research with athletes and broadcasters and are looking forward to world-class hockey being played at a bespoke venue on a blue pitch. The colour blue will define Hockey in 2012.”

The FIH Chief Executive Officer Kelly Fairweather said they were concerned if the change would affect the performance and quality of the play and are satisfied with the thorough research made by the LOCOG. Moreover, they considered the fact that such an innovation in hockey would prove to be eye-catching for the spectators within the stadium or on television.

Fairweather added, “The pitch will blend very well with the look of the London 2012 Games as well as enhancing the visual impact of hockey at the Games.”

Looking back in the history of hockey, it would be the first time that the Olympic and the FIH International event will be played on a different colour pitch.

Hockey was always played on natural grass in the past until the 1970’s when it was substituted by green-coloured synthetic turf pitches.

Unlike the past matches, hockey has become a dynamic and fast game, requiring high physical stamina and technical skills that got facilitated with the introduction of these artificial turfs. Resultantly, it also allowed the chances of change in colours that has now been introduced for the mega sports gala, 2012 London Olympics.

 

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