Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Perth to be ‘best hockey facility in world’ as Australia looks to Brisbane Olympics

Australia hockey has claimed that it will become one of the sport’s “best facilities in the world” after Perth was given the green light to revamp its existing high-performance centre in a multi-million pound agreement which will see hockey become one of the jewels of Olympic sports in the country.

Perth has been the hub of Australia hockey since 1984 and now Hockey WA has beaten off competition from four rival states – Hockey ACT, Hockey NSW, Hockey Queensland and Hockey Victoria – to be retained as home for the Kookaburras and Hockeyroos and a ‘one-stop-shop’ for athletes following the Paris Olympics.

The AUS$135 million (£75m) investment by the WA State Government, said Hockey Australia (HA), is the ‘biggest in the sport’s history in Australia and will arguably be the best hockey facility in the world’.

The current facility at Curtin University will be transformed into a purpose-built Australian Hockey Centre, with three international-standard pitches – one of which will be a new 10,000-seater stadium – a specialist goalkeeper facility, indoor hockey centre and support facilities.

In announcing the winning bid, HA President Ross Sudano said it was a landmark day for the sport in Australia, with the nation’s top players being based in the state in the lead up to the Brisbane Olympics. According to reports, it will be a 10-year deal from 2025.

Sudano said: “This investment will allow us to sharpen our focus on player welfare and a world class training environment. The Hockey WA commitment includes a new purpose-built facility which incorporates all the requirements set out by Hockey Australia.”

HA chief David Pryles said that a new athlete travel allowance programme will provide opportunities for athletes to remain connected to family and friends, while they will also be involved with community and club engagements as role models.

After high-profile issues of negative culture within the women’s programme, the national governing body said funding would be in place for a ‘players concierge’, the programme acting as an ‘athlete wellbeing support role’.

“We recognise these arrangements will be quite different, with some athletes relocating and some being part of a hybrid programme with short stays,” Pryles said.

“We want to ensure we cater for all players’ circumstances. The outcome sought will be to ensure the best possible outcome for the player and their families.”

HA said that the bidding process was narrowed down to three, with Hockey ACT, Hockey Victoria and Hockey WA all vying.

Sudano said Hockey Australia had done “its utmost to ensure the selection process was impartial”.

He added: “With the future of the High-Performance Centre now determined, the HA Board was encouraged by the participation in the process, as well as the growth and initiatives in the sport.”

WA sport and recreation minister David Templeman said: “From grass roots competition to world cup success, Perth has proven to be the place to give Australia’s hockey stars their best shot.

“Hockey Australia agrees, and I am beyond thrilled with today’s announcement that Perth will remain the nation’s Home of Hockey.”

Australia men are currently ranked world No 1 and head to the World Cup in January, while the women’s side are world No 3.

Total Hockey

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