|Sydney 2000 update|
FIH President, Juan Angel Calzado, and Executive Director, Hans Bertels, recently in Australia for the mens Champions Trophy, made the most of their visit by attending two days of meetings in Sydney with the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games organisers. Discussions were constructive and left the FIH with a favourable impression of the organisation for both the Games and the Olympic hockey competition.
Talks centred on the hockey venue, transportation, technology, ticketing and accommodation for technical officials and other members of the Olympic family.
Venue Hockey will be "Happy in Homebush" is the prediction following discussions on the Olympic hockey venue. The Homebush Hockey Stadium is placed in the middle of the Olympic Park in close proximity to the venues for 13 other major sports including athletics, swimming, gymnastics and tennis. SOCOG representatives presented a model of the new stadium which incorporated all FIH recommendations and wishes.
During the Champions Trophy, the announcement was made that SOCOG and the Olympic Co-ordination Authority selected Poligras H2OZ.XLS, made by Balsam Pacific, as the playing surface for the Olympic Hockey Competition. According to Balsam, construction work will begin in February 1998.
Technology Technical and media representatives of the FIH will be key members of a working group responsible for establishing information services requirements for hockey at the Olympic Games. The project, Olympic Results and Information Services or ORIS, is an initiative of the International Olympic Committee aimed at determining who needs what information, when and where it can be sourced. The group, which includes SOCOG and IOC representatives as well as selected journalists, will meet for three days this month at IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. A second meeting is planned for March.
Olympic Coin Programme The FIH delegation had the opportunity to attend the launch of the Olympic Coin Programme while in Sydney. Six coins, including hockey, were presented in the first phase of the programme. Former Australian hockey player and Olympic gold medallist in Atlanta, Nova Peris-Kneebone, was the designer of the first of a series of coins based on a cultural theme. Her design, Festival of Dreaming, is an "Aboriginal interpretation of their sport and dreaming."
Peris-Kneebone has put down her hockey stick and is now in search of Olympic Gold on the track. She recently participated in IAAF World Championships in Athens (4x100m relay), and hopes to strike gold again in 2000. Peris-Kneebone was the first Australian Aboriginal athlete to win an Olympic gold medal. For additional information on the coin programme, contact the Perth Mint in Sydney at +61 2 267 7481 (phone) or +61 2 267 7491 (fax).
The FIH is also happy to report the close co-operation and support provided during the two days by representatives of both the Australian Hockey Association and the Australian Womens Hockey Association.