Hockey was played on natural grass until the early 1970s, but today it is played almost exclusively on artificial turf. The technical fibre has become an essential part of the sport, so much so that the term "artificial turf" is now inseparable from the sport.
Artificial turf is an integral part of hockey
With its arrival, the game has become faster, more precise and more spectacular: the rules of the game have been adapted and the techniques refined. Perfectly flat and resistant to all weather conditions, a homogeneous artificial turf with short textured fibres provides the optimal conditions for a precise and fast game, and also allows better ball control. Hockey turfs are watered before each kick-off to allow players to "slide" without the risk of injury.
At the Paris Olympics, hockey players from all over the world will be able to play their best on Poligras Paris GT hockey turf, a surface developed after 2 years of R&D by the German company Polytan, as part of its Green Technology programme, which stands for particularly environmentally friendly and sustainable sports surfaces.
Artificial turf made from renewable raw materials
For the manufacture of the fibres of this carbon-neutral artificial turf, the first in the world, polyethylene from fossil fuels was replaced by I'm Green™, a biosourced polyethylene developed by the Brazilian company Braskem and derived from the processing of a by-product of sustainably grown sugar cane. In the development of I'm Green™ polyethylene, the result of the third milling, which is no longer suitable for sugar production, is used as the raw material for the creation of the bio-based polyethylene that makes up 80% of Poligras Paris GT zero. The first two mills are used for sugar production. The use of sugar cane as a biological raw material for the fibres of the turf enables Poligras Paris GT zero to save 73 tonnes of CO2 compared to a traditional turf. In order to achieve carbon-neutral bioplastic production, bagasse, the by-product of sugarcane grinding, is also used in the cogeneration plant to produce energy and heat.
And to close the loop, the ash produced during the incineration of the bagasse is used as organic fertiliser on the sugar cane fields.
Low water consumption…
Since Sydney, all Olympic Games have seen a reduction in the amount of water needed for optimal play. For example, the Tokyo Olympic turf required 39% less water than the Rio 2016 turf. Polytan Paris GT zero continues this trend with the introduction of Turf Glide, an exclusive new technology that reduces surface friction. Thanks to this technology, less water is needed to lubricate the turf for a fast and fluid game.
… and a flawless durability
Furthermore, the lifespan of a product has a huge impact on the climate and the environment. That's why Poligras Paris GT zero has been designed to be extremely durable while maintaining excellent performance, even under heavy use, for many years. For example, the fibres are highly resistant to UV rays and wear, so that this hockey turf can even withstand the extreme weather conditions of countries such as Australia and India. At the end of its life, it can be fully recycled and reintroduced into the circular economy system through a dedicated recycling facility owned by a subsidiary of Sport Group Holding GmbH, of which Polytan is a part.
With more than 30 million players, hockey is the 3rd most popular sport in the world and one of the most watched, with almost 2 billion spectators. An Olympic discipline since 1908, this team sport has always been present at the Olympic Games since 1928 for the men and 1980 for the women. And it is of course one of the 32 disciplines scheduled for the next Olympic Games to be held in Paris from 26 July to 11 August 2024.