The entire country might have raised its voice in unison to protest Dow Chemicals’ partnership with the London Olympic Games, but it has ignored the partnership in its backyard, which has been flourishing for years — and shaping our Olympic hockey dreams.
Union Carbide India, which was responsible for the Bhopal gas tragedy in 1984, was bought in 2000 by Dow. The American chemical giant provides key material to the company that supplied synthetic surfaces for the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the hockey World Cup.
The last of the projects was completed in April this year when Jubilee Sports Technology — a global partner of Sports Technology International (STI), which produces the grass in collaboration with Dow, among others — laid the blue-coloured turf in Ludhiana.
These hockey pitches, called POLIGRAS Olympia, have been laid at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium — where India qualified for the Olympics — and at venues in London. They contain polyethylene resins (DOWLEX PE), which have been developed by the performance plastics division of Dow.
Not long back, Dow had announced its association with the London Games and highlighted its contribution in developing POLIGRAS Olympia by supplying DOWLEX. In its press release, the chemical giant had termed the product a “high-performance polyethylene resin, which will help create soft, safe and world-class playing surfaces”.
A Jubilee Sports official conceded that POLIGRAS Olympia surfaces had been laid for the CWG and hockey World Cup. “The same surface has been laid for the London Games, the only difference being the colour, which is blue and pink. Ludhiana too has the blue and pink POLIGRAS Olympia,” said Rajiv Sharma.
He, however, did not clarify when asked about the specific usage of DOWLEX. “We only get directives from STI for laying the turf.” STI did not respond to e-mails. But the press release issued by the chemical giant establishes the association beyond doubt.