Sydney 2000 - Update
Alternative women's tournament format approved in principle

The International Hockey Federation has approved, in principle, an alternative format for the women's Olympic Hockey Tournament that will see an increase to 35 in the number of women's matches (up from 29). The format was proposed to the FIH jointly by Australia Women's Hockey and the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG).

The increase will result in parity between the percentage of women's matches (45%) and the percentage of women athletes represented in the Olympic hockey competition. In addition, SOCOG - a strong supporter of the proposal - feels the alternative programme will provide a greater profile for hockey and especially women's hockey during the Games, and increase television and spectator exposure.

The proposed format differs from the standard FIH two-pool format in two elemental ways: 1. Instead of going straight to cross-over and then final placing matches on completion of round robin pool play, a second round of pool matches is played in one pool among the top three teams in each of the first round pools placings, and 2. The results of first round pool play will be carried over to the second round (ie. teams will not play against teams they faced in the first round). The fourth and fifth placed teams in the first round of pool play will go straight to cross-over and then classification matches.

The final details are now being worked out between the FIH and SOCOG.

ORIS document completed

The FIH has signed off on the final draft of the ORIS (Olympic Results and Information Services) document which will serve as a protocol guide for information and results services during the Sydney Olympic Games, as well as during subsequent Olympic Games.

With the contents of the document agreed, the next step will be the Acceptance Test, during which representatives of the FIH, Media and World News Press Agencies will check that the procedures, processes and the system being prepared by SOCOG meets the requirements defined in the ORIS document under current FIH Rules and Regulations.

Olympic Hockey Centre

The $AUS 15 million upgrading of the Olympic hockey venue has been completed two years before the Games and 10 months ahead of schedule.

During the Olympic Games the venue will seat 15,00 people, and it will also be the football venue for the Paralympic Games.

A feature of the project is the use of a state-of-the-art watering system on the synthetic grass pitch. It will have three automatically operated in-ground central sprinklers as well as in-ground perimeter sprinklers.

SOCOG's hockey competition manager, Ron Riley, said: "We have a great training facility, a great venue for Olympic hockey and a great legacy for hockey in Australia.

The Olympic hockey competition will run for 15 days, with the venue seeing lots of action as both the men's and women's tournaments take place on the same field of play.