The use of playing surfaces produced by combining innovative technology with renewable raw materials in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way is one of the positives of the ongoing Hockey World Cup here and in Rourkela.
Poligras, a leading brand that laid the pitches at the two venues, threw some light on the modern technology, which enabled less use of water on the turfs.
“This (less water) is largely driven by the technology used in turf manufacturing and pitch design which contribute to the reduction in water usage. Significant factors in the synthetic yarn extrusion such as polymer, texturisation, yarn profile and patented intellectual property contribute to lower yarn temperatures without (being) detrimental to performance of the yarn and turf system.
“Elastic layers (shock pads) and field design also play a major role in ensuring that what (amount of) water is applied to the field is utilised for the longest possible time. Poligras today uses some 60-70% less water that we used in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games,” Shaun Goudie, the general manager of Sportsgroup Asia region who managed installation of the turfs at the two venues, told The Hindu through an email.
Goudie said laying the pitches in Rourkela in limited time posed several obstacles. “Installing turfs in the middle of a very large build programme…is never an ideal situation. With searing temperatures and then heavy monsoonal rains always (posing) big challenges, you need to find warm weather to install the pitches.”
The production of turfs from a renewable resource, sugarcane, instead of fossil fuel is a step towards holding an event on ‘carbon zero’ turf during the 2024 Paris Olympics and in line with the International Hockey Federation’s (FIH) priority of laying waterless pitches for upcoming big events.
“Poligras is working to develop the next generation pitches that will be waterless… The Paris 2024 Olympic pitches will feature a newly-developed yarn that will further reduce water and provide lower friction characteristics enabling low water requirements. We sincerely hope that by the 2026 World Cups, we will be in a position to offer the first Category-1 waterless turfs,” said Goudie.