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India needs more international hockey fields: Australian firm

A Melbourne-based global manufacturer says international standard synthetic surfaces are crucial for India to regain its golden days of hockey domination in the world.

india Updated: Nov 07, 2008 11:23 IST

A Melbourne-based global manufacturer of synthetic sporting surfaces, which has been installing hockey surfaces and athletic tracks across India, says international standard synthetic surfaces are crucial for India to regain its golden days of hockey domination in the world.

"When hockey moved to synthetic surfaces, India lost out because it currently uses natural grass surfaces. If India wants to push ahead with regaining its supremacy over the game, it needs international standard fields and that is where we come into play with our Poligras XL surfaces," Advanced Polymer Technology Australasia Pty Ltd's managing director, Martin Schlegel, told IANS.

Sports Technology International (STI), a member of Advanced Polymer Technology (APT) Group, is one of the largest and most technologically advanced synthetic sports surface companies in the world with ISO-9001 accredited standard manufacturing facilities in Melbourne.

Its unique sporting surface is made with a low-sliding resistance microfibre yarn and sits on an in-situ built elastic layer which provides exceptional shock absorption for players. This innovative hockey surface has been accredited by the International Hockey Federation and is completely manufactured at Sports Technology International's factory in Dandenong, Victoria, a 60-minute drive from Melbourne.

STI had recently installed synthetic turf at the official hockey site for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and the athletics track facilities for the just concluded third Commonwealth Youth Games held in Pune.

With nine hockey surfaces and five running tracks projects under way in major cities across the length and breadth of the country, STI is also in the fray for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

Earlier, the company installed sporting surfaces for the Sydney 2000 Olympics, the 2006 Asian Games in Doha (Qatar) and the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, besides facilities for various Champions Trophies across the world. "Next year's Champions Trophy matches hosted in Australia will be also be played on Poligras surfaces," Schlegel points out.

"We have installed the Steel Authority of India's hockey facility, using Poligras XL, and a running track for Infosys in Bangalore. However, working in India can be difficult and challenging. Logistically, it is the only country where for implementing projects we have a stipulation that all materials will have to arrive at the same time for customs clearance. In other countries, we get the material as the project progresses," Schlegel told IANS.

"The other challenge is dealing with the levels of authorities involved in signing the project, which makes it a very lengthy process and also affects cash flow," he adds.

The company services the construction and contracting industry in the elite sports market, supplying tennis courts, bowling greens, and hockey, football, rugby and multi-sport playing fields as well as athletic running tracks.

First Published: Nov 07, 2008 11:18 IST