Blue hockey turf gets players thumbs up

For the first time in Olympic history, field hockey players are tangled up in blue.

The field at Olympic Park is now blanketed in an electric blue surface with a hot pink border. The eye-catching color scheme fits right in with the London Games and is grabbing some attention for a fringe sport that could use all the help it can get.

In hopes of making the game easier to watch for spectators, the London Games has ditched the stale green of the traditional pitch in favour of an electric blue number with hot pink trim.
Riverbank Arena’s snazzy new look seems to be making a good first impression.

“It’s something different, eh?” South African midfielder Wade Paton said on Monday after a 6-0 loss to Australia.

“Especially when the sun is shining and reflecting off the turf. But it’s flippin’ loads of fun.”
That’s been field hockey’s issue for years, how to separate itself from the other far more popular games played on green fields with white balls. So officials swapped out the white ball for a neon yellow version and dressed the field in an eye-catching color scheme that coordinates with the London Games.

“I think it’s awesome to see the aerial views of the whole Olympic venue and to see hockey and to have it stand out instead of just being a grass field that could be football or could be cricket or it could be anything,” Australian defender Mark Knowles said.
“So I think it’s a really good for hockey.”

The blue hockey fields have started popping up in the years leading up to London as players tried to prepare for the new environment. The Australians have been practicing on a blue field all year, but the South Africans had only played a few exhibitions on it in Madrid before coming to London.

“When we’ve been looking at footage of blue turf and we go back to looking at footage of green turf, the guys are all a bit surprised to see that,” South African midfielder Austin Smith. “I think the transition is really smooth. It’s a nice change.”

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