FIH: First Dry Hockey Turf in Africa installed at St. Andrews School, Bloemfontein

Earlier today, in a historic moment for hockey, the first ‘dry hockey turf’ in the African continent was inaugurated at St. Andrews School in Bloemfontein, South Africa, with FIH Executive Board (EB) Member and South Africa Hockey Association (SAHA) President, Deon Morgan in attendance. 

The ‘FIH Innovation Category Dry Turf Hockey Field’ was delivered by Polytan and represents yet another step taken by the global hockey community, towards making the sport more sustainable by moving away from watered turfs; a move proposed by the FIH during its 46th Congress in 2018. 

The inauguration of the dry turf marks a historical moment for hockey, as it is the first ever turf containing no sand and not requiring any irrigation to be installed in the African continent. The dry turf technology makes hockey more accessible to all regions of the world and is particularly effective in places that suffer from water shortage issues. 

The opening of the dry turf in Africa comes shortly after the first ever FIH Hockey5s World Cup, held in Oman during January 2024, was played on a dry turf, also delivered by FIH Global Supplier Polytan. The dry turfs are a product of significant progress made by the artificial turf industry and the turf inaugurated in Bloemfontein today is completely carbon neutral and made of 80% biobased material (sugarcane). 

FIH has made a strict commitment to make hockey a globally sustainable sport and will continue to work towards reducing any adverse footprint on the environment. The initial steps have already been taken, with a steady reduction in water usage, showcased by the turf used at the Olympic Games in Tokyo requiring 39% less water for optimal performance than the turf used in Rio only four years earlier. The upcoming Olympic Games in Paris 2024 will also, for the very first time, feature a carbon neutral hockey turf and further reduce the watering required.

The first dry turf in Africa is yet another step in the right direction and FIH is grateful to St Andrews School, Polytan and all involved in the completion of the project. 

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the dry turf at St. Andrews School in Bloemfontein, FIH EB member and SAHA President Deon Morgan said: “I’m particularly glad and touched that South Africa has been chosen to welcome this non-watered pitch that will undoubtedly benefit the growth of our sport. Dry turf represents a major opportunity for our sport to grow and I’m confident that there will be many more such pitches being installed in our country and on our continent soon. I would like to express the sincerest gratitude of the hockey community to FIH’s Global Supplier Polytan and all involved in this wonderful project. I wish all hockey players at St Andrews to practise their skills in optimal conditions and enjoy thrilling moments of hockey and friendship.”

Ashley Appleby, International Sales Manager at Polytan, speaking about the progress being made in making hockey turfs more sustainable, said: “Poligras Paris GT zero is not only the carbon zero Paris Olympic turf, but it is also FIH Innovation Category certified which means it can be used for dry hockey for school and club level 11-a-side hockey and Hockey 5s at any competition level, including World Cups. Poligras Paris GT zero hockey turfs have been installed in over 25 locations in 11 countries, and we are delighted to provide the first turf suitable for dry hockey in Africa. This turf offers unrivalled sustainability and versatility benefits to the entire hockey community.”


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