Peter Booysen Sports Park boasts state-of-the-art synthetic turf

2010-07-21 00:00

THE University of KwaZulu-Natal’s hockey players are soon to have a new synthetic sports surface to practice and play on at the Peter Booysen Sports Park.

Construction of the facility began in January and a few electrical fittings need to be completed before it is commissioned.

Four floodlights are being erected and a new electrical mini-sub needs to be installed to power the facility.

The Pietermaritzburg campus has traditionally been a strong hockey centre that has produced a number of South African players. The UKZN team has also won many national hockey tournaments.

Reggie Smith, sports officer for hockey at the university, said the completion of the facility is something that will surely strengthen the already strong reputation of UKZN’s participation in the sport.

“The players will have a lot more time to train and this will benefit their hockey in the long run,” he said.

“We have eight teams at the university and some of them are forced to train late into the evening because of how congested the AB Jackson turf is, so this will help in that regard.”

The UKZN hockey club is currently using the AB Jackson hockey turf for practices and matches, which limits the amount of time and space each of the club’s eight teams is allocated.

The new facility will help to ease the congestion and allow students to walk to hockey practices and matches because the new turf is located on the university campus.

“It will also mean that we can have more day sessions and students will have the evenings to focus on their studies during exam time,” said Smith.

There have already been a few practice sessions on the surface, but no competitive matches have been played on it yet. Primary schools and other hockey clubs will use the surface and this, according to Smith, will benefit Pietermaritzburg hockey.

“It is good for six-year-olds to be exposed to playing on a surface of this quality,” he said.

“We will also be able to keep some of our talented hockey players as they come out of school because now they won’t have to travel elsewhere to a university with a surface like this; they can stay here.”

Smith says the facility will be completed in a month or so and that there are also plans to build a clubhouse alongside the pitch.

The new hockey surface is set to add to the Peter Booysen Sports Park’s already impressive sports facilities: a rugby field, tennis courts, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, two cricket fields and two football fields.

“This certainly does make the facility more complete,” said Smith.

“It is now one of the best sporting facilities in the province.”

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