The Lilleshall National Sports Centre, a training venue for England Hockey is now home to a Poligras Olympia water based hockey pitch to FIH global pitch standards. The Surface which has already won the hearts and minds of players and officials alike was installed by the Kent based artificial sports specialists Active Leisure Contracts. The project, funded by Sport England, involved laying a high performance insitu rubber shock pad onto which the Poligras Olympia surface was bonded using a unique full stick porous bonding adhesive. This is the same surface that was so successfully used at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and subsequently at other major international hockey facilities across Asia.
The project was completed in four weeks by the Active Leisure Contracts installation team and overseen by a senior Technician from Sports Technology International (STI) who designed and manufactured the surface system.
“The surface itself is unique and exactly the same specification as the one used at last year’s Olympic Games”, commented Martin Longstaffe, Divisional Manager of Sports at Active Leisure Contracts. “We encountered a few typical UK weather related problems during the installation process as a result of the wet summer and cold mornings. This made the carpet too rigid to lay early in the day and the full stick adhesive had to be applied in between the rain. However, we got there in the end and are very pleased with the results.”
One of the distinctive features of Poligras Olympia is that once the fibres have split down or ‘fibrillated’, the ball will roll along the surface without deviation. This allows players to confidently make long passes of the ball in the knowledge that the carpet will not interfere with the direction that it takes, or thanks to the unique method of carpet adhesion, cause the ball to bobble as it runs. Since the Poligras Olympia hit the international stage with its revolutionary water saving technology, 19 further pitches have been installed to date around the world. Water saving statistics from these pitches confirms Poligras Olympia uses up to 40% less water than previous generation water based pitches.
The GB Hockey players and England Hockey were so impressed after playing on the surface in Beijing last year, that they contacted Sports Technology International who themselves turned to Active Leisure Contracts as their UK partner.
The new Hockey Pitch is a great facility and perfect for our junior under 16’s, under 18’s and under 21’s international programmes”, commented Jane Powell, Head of Coaching for the England Hockey Board. We have been really pleased with Active Leisure Contracts, with the pitch playing well with good ball roll and firm under foot characteristics. Some of our senior camps now use the facilities in preparation for international matches”.