The London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) today announced that the hockey pitches to be used at the Hockey Centre at the Olympic Park will be blue. Over 600,000 spectators will be cheering on as the world’s top Hockey players battle it out on blue pitches for the first time ever at an Olympic Games.
Debbie Jevans, LOCOG Director of Sport, 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.’
Kelly Fairweather, Chief Executive Officer of the International Hockey Federation (FIH), commented that ‘the playing performance and quality of a pitch are our primary concern and we’re happy that LOCOG has researched this thoroughly. In addition though, we’re keen to innovate in the presentation of hockey to ensure, among other things, that spectators either in the stadium or on television get a good view of the exciting field action. 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.’
GB hockey international Alex Danson said: ‘Having been involved in the colour test, the London Blue pitch is great. It provides a really strong contrast for players against the white ball and white lines and I quickly adapted to the change. I really like the pink surround as well! It’s another great example of hockey’s willingness to lead the way and try new things. It will certainly make hockey stand out in 2012.’
Jeff Keas, Principal of Populous, said: ‘The Hockey Centre represents a very important temporary venue for the London 2012 Games. We see this venue as one of the four cornerstones of the Olympic Park and have designed a venue that takes advantage of this opportunity. The design is unique in that it allows the atmosphere and action on the blue pitch to be enhanced by allowing views in from the Park as well as views out to the Park and the backdrop of this city.’
This will be the first Olympic and FIH World Level event to be played on a different colour to the traditional green. Historically, hockey was always played on natural grass and when the move was made to synthetic turf pitches in the 1970s green was adopted to replicate the traditional playing environment. But the days of top level international hockey being played on grass pitches are gone. The game is now high paced, dynamic and demands incredible levels of fitness and skill, particularly as this will also be the first Olympic Games since the introduction of the “Self Pass” rule, which has only served to make the game even quicker. These developments have been made possible with the introduction of synthetic turf pitches which in turn enables the introduction of other colours.
The move to blue pitches will provide high levels of contrast with the white ball and white lines for players, officials, spectators, photographers and broadcasters. The pitch run off areas will be pink providing a striking and dynamic look to the Hockey Centre. The Hockey Centre is the only full outdoor venue on the Olympic Park so the two pitches are likely to be a prominent landmark to complement the architecture of the permanent surrounding venues.
Hockey will have over 380 competitors at 2012 in 24 teams competing at the London Games in the men’s and women’s competitions. It will take place at the Hockey Centre in the Olympic Park, Stratford, east London. The Hockey Centre is a temporary stadium based at the northern end of the Olympic Park. The complex includes two pitches, one for competition and one for warm up. The main pitch will stage all of the 76 matches which will be spread over 14 days of competition from 29 July to 11 August. Applications for Olympic Hockey tickets can now be made at www.tickets.london2012.com. There will be seating for 16,000 spectators who will not only enjoy the hockey but also stunning views south across the Olympic Park and the Olympic Stadium.
The Hockey Centre will be built in the spring of 2012, and it will also be used to host both the 5 and 7-a-side Paralympic Football Competitions. The warm up pitch at the Hockey Centre will host the 5-a-side competition. 64 blind and partially sighted athletes will take part in 2012 with 21 matches played across five match days. The main pitch will host the 7-a-side competition where 96 athletes with cerebral palsy will play 21 matches across the alternate 5 days.
The two pitches to be installed in the summer of 2011 at the Old Loughtonians Hockey Club in Essex, which is the Hockey Games Time Training Venue, will also mirror the same blue and pink colour combination.
Source: London 2012 Media Release
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