Olympic hockey pitch unveiled

The London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) today unveiled the Olympic Hockey Centre’s first blue and pink pitch and revealed that a yellow ball will be used during the Hockey competition for the first ever time at an Olympic Games.

The Hockey Centre in the Olympic Park will host over 780,000 spectators during London 2012 staging both Olympic Hockey and Paralympic 5 and 7-a-side football competitions.  The Great Britain women’s hockey squad got the chance to train on the water-based pitch, allowing them a taste of what to expect next year.  The main competition pitch is now complete and will be used for Olympic Hockey and 7 a-side Paralymic Football.  The Hockey warm-up pitch which doubles up as the 5 a-side Paralympic Football competition pitch is due to be completed in early November. The erection of the stands and infrastructure will follow in early 2012.

Kerry Williams, Ashleigh Ball, Laura Bartlett and Georgie Twigg at the launch of the Olympic hockey pitch

David Luckes, Head of Sport Competition at LOCOG, said: “We are delighted with how the main pitch at the Hockey Centre looks. The blue and pink pitch combined with the yellow ball will not only make following the ball easier, it also has a fantastic London 2012 feel. The player feedback has been excellent and we will continue to work together to ensure the pitches are perfect for the Games next year.”

Leandro Negre, President of the International Hockey Federation (FIH), commented: “It is very exciting to see the Hockey Centre now taking shape and seeing the blue pitch for the first time. We feel confident that the spectators both in the stands and on television will get a fantastic visual experience.”

Alex Danson (pictured below playing for England against the Netherlands) from the Great Britain women’s hockey squad also commented: "It is great to be able to train on the pitch that we will be playing on during London 2012. Coming in to the Olympic Park makes everything very real and the excitement is really building within the squad. Having the blue and pink pitch for London 2012 is fantastic for hockey.  The pitch is great to play on too; it's really quick and true and enables us to play with confidence. I can't wait!”

Alex Danson comes under pressure from Sophie Polkamp of the Netherlands at the 2011 EuroHockey Nations Championships

Jeff Davis, the FA’s National Development Manager for Disability Football, commented: “We’re hoping that Paralympic Football will be a big draw at London 2012 and I’m sure the brand new pitch and Hockey Centre will help create an exciting atmosphere for fans and players alike.”

This will be the first time Olympic Hockey and Paralympic Football are played on a different colour pitch to the traditional green. The move to blue pitches will provide high levels of contrast with the yellow ball and white lines for players, officials, spectators, photographers and broadcasters.

The Hockey Centre is a temporary stadium based at the northern end of the Olympic Park.  The centre will be the only full outdoor venue with seating for 16,000 spectators who will enjoy stunning views south across 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 hockey matches which will be spread over 14 days of competition from 29 July to 11 August. There will be over 380 competitors from 24 teams competing in the men’s and women’s competitions.

The Hockey Centre 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. The main pitch will host the 7-a-side competition. Competition runs from 31 August – 9 September 2012.
After the Games, the temporary arena will be dismantled and elements will be moved to Eton Manor in the north of the Olympic Park which will offer multi-purpose sport and leisure facilities including two hockey competition pitches.

Visit the London 2012 website at www.london2012.com