State-of-the-Art Poligras Turfs extend rich hockey tradition
In the remote city of Inner Mongolia’s Morin Dawa (which means ‘mountains that horses aren’t able to go over’ in the local Daur language), hockey has reached surprising new heights. A state-of-the-art Poligras synthetic turf sits poised on a mountaintop with incredible views over a region that has produced more national players than any other Province in China. An astounding fact given it is home to less than 400,000 people.
Morin Dawa which is nestled amongst grasslands, five hours away from the nearest airport by mostly unpaved roads, is home to another first-class Poligras turf which sits within a magnificent building – one of only two full-sized indoor hockey turfs anywhere in the world.*
These turfs are astonishing in their own right, but even more so when you understand the history on which they have been laid. They provide an unlikely and breath-taking meeting point for hockey past and hockey future.
Ancient Beikou tradition provides roots of the modern game
Well before the British invented the modern game of hockey in the 19th century, the Daur people of Inner Mongolia were playing a game called beikou. This ancient game, which dates back over 1,000 years has all the hallmarks of field hockey, just swap a ball for a clump of apricot root and a stick for an approximately one-meter-long wooden branch. There is a night version too which doesn’t require the modern invention of floodlights because the ball itself provides the light. Wrapped in felt, it is then dipped in oil and set alight, leaving a fluorescent map of the game in its wake.
China’s ‘hometown of field hockey’ breeds national stars
This ancient tradition gave the Daur people a natural affinity for the modern game when it did arrive and Morin Dawa became a rich talent pool for the national squad. For China’s home Olympics in 2008, Morin Dawa players made up a third of the Chinese squad and the city has become deservedly known as China’s ‘hometown of field hockey’. To this day it continues to supply the national squad with players and a remote training venue where they can focus on their game with minimal distraction.
China’s hockey evolution
Yves Rossi, General Manager of Polytan China explains:
“The ancient game is very much still alive in Morin Dawa through the traditions and culture of the local people. The juxtaposition of this against the modern resources and facilities which have become a part of Morin Dawa’s landscape since we installed two world-class Poligras turfs there in 2018 is very special. It is as if you can see hockey evolving in front of your eyes.
By embracing both its rich hockey tradition and the future of the game, Morin Dawa will continue to hold an extraordinary place in the story of China’s hockey evolution.”
Morin Dawa is also a remarkable reminder that the game is growing outside of hockey’s better-known heartlands and that with the arrival of synthetic turf, there is no limit to where hockey can go.
Where Hockey Goes, We Go: Poligras in China
Poligras, part of Sport Group, is a global leader in hockey turf and has been a long-standing partner to the game in China. 16 high performance Poligras turfs have been installed in China since 2004 including the hockey turfs for the Beijing Olympics in 2008. 12 years on, those surfaces have just been replaced with new Poligras turfs as part of a commitment to ensure a more enduring legacy for China’s home Games.
Sport Group now has a physical presence in Shanghai with a second office due to open in Beijing in early 2021 so that it can better serve hockey’s needs across China. By giving customers direct access to world-class products, Sport Group and Poligras will continue to support hockey’s future evolution in the region. Through its family of sport surface brands including Laykold, LigaTurf and Rekortan, Sport Group will extend this advantage to multiple sports across China.
“THE ANCIENT GAME IS VERY MUCH STILL ALIVE IN MORIN DAWA THROUGH THE TRADITIONS AND CULTURE OF THE LOCAL PEOPLE.”
— YVES ROSSI, GENERAL MANAGER OF POLYTAN CHINA
*The world’s only other full-sized indoor hockey turf is an AstroTurf based under a dome at the Spooky Nook Sports Complex, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, a USA Field Hockey Training Facility