Australia’s recent domination of world hockey is a huge endorsement for the Perth-based AIS High Performance Centre and its capacity to deliver a world-class coaching and training program, according to Sport and Recreation Minister John Bowler.
The Kookaburra’s claimed the biggest prize on this year’s international hockey calendar winning an eighth Champions Trophy with a 3-1 victory over the Netherlands in the final played in Chennai, India at the weekend.
The result follows the men’s breakthrough gold medal at last year’s Athens Olympic Games.
Mr Bowler welcomed the return of the Western Australian contingent of the national team including Perth’s Bevan George, who was named Player of the Tournament after stand-out performances throughout the series.
“Not only has WA produced home grown champions like Bevan George, the program here develops the nation’s most promising hockey talent into the world’s elite,” the Minister said.
The High Performance Centre for hockey is the only Australian Institute of Sport program run from WA, having successfully won a highly competitive tender process involving all states.
The State Government recently contributed $300,000 to lay new synthetic nylon turf, which will make Perth Hockey Stadium the premier training environment for all levels of hockey.
“We have the world’s best coaching staff, with national men’s coach Barry Dancer and Frank Murray the women’s coach,” Mr Bowler said.
“It is important we provide them with the best facilities to do their job.
“When completed next week, there will be two different types of international standard turf here which will no doubt give both national teams a significant advantage as they prepare for major competition, including the Beijing Olympics.”
The men are clearly at the top of world hockey and the Hockeyroos not far behind, after the women finished second behind the Dutch at the Champions Trophy in Canberra a week ago.
Both teams will be looking to take their impressive form into the Commonwealth Games in March and then set themselves for the World Cup later in 2006.
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