4 May 2012

London organisers defend hockey surface

12:23 pm on 4 May 2012

London Olympic officials have defended the preparation of the Olympic hockey pitch after one of the Australian men's team suffered an injury on the artificial surface which has ruled him out of the Games.

Defender Graeme Begbie, who had recently returned after reconstructive knee surgery, tore an anterior cruciate ligament when he slipped and fell during a practice match against India at the venue two days ago.

The Australian coach Ric Charlesworth criticised the surface as too slippery, and not properly "worn in".

But the head of London's venues and infrastructure team said the organisers had followed the exact instructions of the International Hockey Federation by putting the hockey field down a year before the Games, giving it time to bed in properly, and there's been play on it, even before the stands were built.

There will be hockey played at the venue right up to the start of the competition.