The first major event on dry turf THE WORLD’S FIRST HOCKEY5S WORLD CUP

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The inaugural Hockey5s World Cup takes place in Muscat from 24-31 January 2024. The brand new FIH competition will host 16 men’s and women’s teams each, with nations ranging from Australia to Zambia. The teams will play on a Poligras Paris GT zero turf in Oman’s capital city, Muscat, in the hope of becoming the first ever Hockey5s World Champions.

TRADITIONAL AND EMERGING HOCKEY NATIONS WILL LIGHT UP HOCKEY5S’ FLAGSHIP EVENT

Oman, Malaysia, Fiji, Netherlands, India, US, Poland and New Zealand will field both men’s and women’s teams. Further women’s teams will include Australia, South Africa, Ukraine, Zambia, Namibia, Uruguay, Thailand and Paraguay whilst the full team sheet for the men will be completed by Pakistan, Nigeria, Egypt, Switzerland, Jamaica, Australia, Trinidad & Tobago and Kenya. This exciting mix of traditional hockey powerhouses and emerging hockey nations will light up Hockey5s’ flagship event.

HOCKEY5S EXPLAINED

Played in about 70 countries around the world, Hockey5s, the shortened format of the traditional 11-a-side game, features five players per team.

The ball is in play 90% of the time thanks to the surrounding rebound-boards, which means there is non-stop, end to end action. As players can score from anywhere after the attacking line, there are usually many more goals in Hockey5s.

“This format complements the traditional game and provides a space where thinking differently and challenging the status quo are not only acceptable, but integral to the game’s progress.”

HOCKEY5S A CATALYST FOR THE GROWTH AND EVOLUTION OF THE GAME

FIH sport and sustainability director Jon Wyatt, explains why Hockey5s is such an important part of growing the game;

“As with all sports, short formats provide a more accessible route in for players and fans alike. Hockey5s can be played anywhere, indoors or outdoors and is a fun, fast and exciting format of the game. It requires smaller spaces, less equipment and has proven to be highly successful both in non-traditional hockey countries as well as in new communities within more established hockey nations.

Whilst Hockey5s was first introduced in 2013 at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, the first edition of the Hockey5s World Cup in Oman will showcase this format and provide a window to inspire the next generation of Hockey5s players from around the world.”

COACHES AND TEAMS ARE EXCITED BY HOCKEY5S

USA will field both a men’s and women’s team in Oman and their coaches are equally positive about the impact Hockey5s and the World Cup will have on the sport. US Men’s National Team Head Coach, Harry Singh said;

“I am excited about the US’s participation and the impact it can have on our sport. The smaller field game style brings a dynamic edge, fostering quicker plays and heightened audience engagement.”

Rachel Dawson, the USA Women’s Hockey5s coach, expanded on this:

“With USA participation in the inaugural Hockey5s World Cup, we are excited to be at the forefront of hockey’s evolution. This format complements the traditional game and provides a space where thinking differently and challenging the status quo are not only acceptable, but integral to the game’s progress.”

“As the world turns its focus towards water conservation, this initiative not only showcases an exciting evolution in gameplay but also echoes our commitment to a more environmentally conscious future for hockey.”

— HARRY SINGH, US MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM HEAD COACH

THE FIRST MAJOR EVENT ON DRY TURF

Although the iconic blue Poligras Paris GT zero pitch that has been recently installed in Muscat looks like an oasis in the desert, it is, in fact, the opposite. Featuring a new and proprietary friction-reducing technology called Turf Glide which reduces friction and abrasion, the turf has been FIH innovation-certified for dry hockey.

The FIH’s Jon Wyatt explains the significance of this;

“Developing artificial hockey surfaces that require little or no water whilst still maintaining the characteristics that allow the speed and skills of top-level hockey, is a core target of our global sustainability strategy. The Hockey5s World Cup in Oman will be the first major event played on dry turf and is a significant step towards our goal of dry hockey at all levels of the game.”

Made with 80% biobased material and a manufacturing process powered by green energy, the Paris turf not only saves water but also 73 tons of CO2 compared to a conventional turf, making it the world’s first carbon zero hockey turf.

A PHENOMENAL INSTALLATION

Sport Group’s general manager and head of major events Shaun Goudie, who has just overseen the pioneering turf installation in Muscat explained;

“Being part of the creation of the world’s first Hockey5s World Cup, and the first major event on dry turf has been phenomenal. In total we have installed two Poligras Paris GT zero pitches including the main tournament turf which has seating for 5,000 spectators and a full-size turf which will be split into four Hockey5s practice pitches. It has been a huge team endeavour alongside our expert installation partner Firas bin Fatik. Our team has been on site for two weeks in temperatures of 30+ degrees but it has been worth it.

The transformation of the space into an international hockey venue, all the while leaving a minimal footprint on the planet, is an honour to be a part of.”

DRY HOCKEY – THE COACHES’ PERSPECTIVE

As the US teams enter their final month of preparation ahead of Oman, their coaches explained what dry hockey means to them. Rachel Dawson explains;

“Waterless turf will be a pivotal advancement for the sport, and while a period of adaptation is to be expected in the upcoming years, this innovation will unlock new potential for the sport through greater accessibility, sustainability, and minimized complexity.”

Harry Singh, speaking from the men’s locker room said;

“We see dry hockey as an innovative shift that can further elevate the game’s accessibility and appeal. Embracing the dry pitch in the Hockey5s World Cup marks a significant leap towards sustainability and innovation in our sport. As the world turns its focus towards water conservation, this initiative not only showcases an exciting evolution in gameplay but also echoes our commitment to a more environmentally conscious future for hockey.”

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