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St. Andrew’s School, Bloemfontein

South Africa
June 2024

St. Andrews: a pioneer of African hockey

In March 2024, Africa’s first dry hockey pitch was inaugurated: a ground-breaking moment, not only for the entire continent, but for hockey worldwide. The installation at St. Andrew’s School in Bloemfontein, South Africa, is a global flagship project when it comes to sustainability.

St. Andrew’s School is a public school for boys in Bloemfontein. The boarding school was founded in 1863, making it the second oldest educational institution in Bloemfontein. Its counterpart for girls is St. Michael’s School, which was founded only 11 years later, much earlier than other comparable schools in Europe. Sports have always been high on the agenda at St. Andrew’s, traditionally including cricket, rugby and hockey, and more recently, football, tennis, squash and basketball. One of the most famous alumni of St. Andrew’s School is undoubtedly Christopher Froome, several times winner of the Tour de France.

Hockey is also growing in popularity in South Africa; however, the biggest challenge there is water scarcity. Sand-filled hockey pitches are widespread, but in dry weather, they can barely be used at all. That’s why the prestigious St. Andrew’s School opted for Poligras Paris GT zero hockey turf from Polytan, which can be used even when dry and achieves Olympic quality with minimal watering. The sustainable synthetic turf system was installed by our partner Trompie Sport, one of Africa’s leading sports construction companies. The new pitch will serve 33 junior teams and 10 senior teams at St. Andrew’s, who are among the best teams in South Africa.

Poligras Paris GT zero – climate-neutral and resource-efficient

In Bloemfontein, we installed a highly functional dry hockey pitch that does not require any sand in-fill or watering and has already been officially certified by the FIH. Our “FIH Innovation Category Dry Turf Hockey Field” is a milestone in sustainable hockey, as previously, large amounts of water were needed to play professional hockey. With our sustainable system, hockey can be played at the highest level in the arid regions of the world.

With Poligras Paris GT zero, as installed at St. Andrew’s School, we have developed the world’s first carbon-neutral synthetic turf for hockey. As a sports flooring manufacturer, we are advancing the development of sustainable systems without compromising on playing quality. The filaments of Poligras Paris GT zero consist of up to 80% bio-based fibre raw materials. Combined with the recyclable polyurethane wear coat, they result in a positive carbon footprint and ideal playing properties. Our high-performance hockey turf enables a precise and dynamic game while ensuring maximum player safety, even during complex playing manoeuvres. Our robust hockey turf withstands changing weather conditions, such as high UV radiation, and retains its attractive appearance for many years, even with intensive use. Polytan’s Turf Glide Technology minimises surface friction, which ensures unbeatably fast ball-rolling behaviour, increased player safety and significantly reduced water consumption.

We have already equipped more than 25 pitches in 11 countries with Poligras Paris GT zero hockey turf. The system has proven itself in training and competition, and is robust and extremely resource-efficient – a great advantage, especially in areas where water is a scarce resource. And now, we are proud to have realised Africa’s first dry hockey pitch. It will enrich the entire hockey community and takes the sport one step closer to a sustainable success story.

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