Asian hockey – A story of extraordinary growth

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‘Green’ turf projects are a sign of growth in Asian Hockey

It has been a challenging year for sport but a surge in hockey turf projects in Asia is a clear signal that the sport continues to grow there. In the last year alone, our teams at Polytan have installed over 20 Poligras hockey surfaces across the region – a direct result of the Asian Hockey Federation’s (AHF) work to grow the sport. We caught up with AHF’s CEO, Tayyab Ikram to find out how our turf technology in Asia is helping to nurture and transform the game there.

Tokyo shines a light on Asian hockey’s wider success story

Tokyo 2020 may have been delayed by a year, but extraordinarily, its hockey legacy is already at work in Japan with Masters and youth matches already taking place on our Poligras Tokyo GT Olympic pitches. As Ikram explains:

“Hockey in Japan has a long tradition. The Olympic Games takes this tradition and boosts it. The Games have stimulated new hockey infrastructure being installed up and down the country.

The hockey turfs at the Oi Stadium are only 15 minutes from the center of Tokyo – this is a great gift for the game. Previously hockey didn’t have a strong infrastructure in the city of Tokyo, the two Poligras turfs in a professional stadium will serve as hockey legacy and give young people access to the sport. Hockey, which is well established in schools and universities in Japan is, therefore, very well placed to grow as a result of the Games”

Turf gives hockey a boost in Asia

The Olympic spotlight illuminates an important success story for the game and as Ikram reveals, it is a high-profile example of what is happening all across Asia:

“The Asian Hockey Federation works with 40 nations, 33 members and another 7 non-member countries. This means that hockey is now being played in almost in every country in Asia.

Infrastructure is growing too. Almost all second-tier nations have turf projects in their pipeline. This is very important. Turf hockey is fast and exciting with unlimited possibilities, so every time a quality turf is installed hockey gets a boost.”

He highlights encouraging progress in Thailand, Singapore, Oman, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh; “They are working very hard to grow the game and have done a lot of positive work for hockey. Bangladesh in particular has a strong school hockey structure and the game is increasingly popular with young people.”

Polytan: Hockey’s Best Partner

As a longstanding partner of the AHF and pioneers of the Poligras Tokyo GT turf that will provide the 2020 Games with a surface made from 60% renewable raw materials, we are proud to play an intrinsic part in this success story.

We work closely with the AHF to understand what hockey in Asia needs and to ensure it has the optimal impact on the game. For example, together with the AHF we recently donated an Olympic quality turf to Uzbekistan, which Ikram explains, “has become a hub for Central Asian hockey – it has much wider value than one single hockey turf.”

In Korea, where Ikram highlights a “real commitment to hockey” we have recently finished the installation of 6 new Poligras turfs in collaboration with the national federation and the AHF.

This takes the total Poligras pitches installed across Asia to 152, supporting major events from Asian Games, to World Cups to Youth Olympics Games, Tokyo 2020 and National Training Centres and Stadiums. As the pitches for Tokyo and Uzbekistan show, the total value of these turfs from the elite to the grassroots of the game, far exceeds their surface number.

Made Green

Our surfaces pack a greater environmental punch too. Over 17% of all Polytan turfs installed in Asia are Poligras Tokyo GT. This shows a growing commitment to climate-positive hockey in the region, and this number is growing as Tokyo GT becomes the trusted and chosen choice.

“We may play on blue turfs” explains Ikram, “but hockey clubs and associations can now choose ‘green’ turfs… I think hockey’s sugar cane turfs are a great example of what is possible.”

Like our turfs, the AHF’s success story is one of extraordinary growth and extraordinary potential.

 

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