DUBAI // The man behind an initiative which introduced 10,000 new junior players to hockey in Australia has been recruited to oversee the development of the game at Dubai Sports City. Adam Barnes, the newly-appointed World Hockey Academy manager, has arrived in the UAE after working for four years as the game development coordinator for Hockey Australia.
His appointment is a further boost for the game here, with the academy set to provide high-quality and much needed facilities when it opens next year. "There are many people in the UAE who are passionate about playing hockey, but the facilities have not been here," said Barnes. "We will be able to provide the right environment for youngsters taking up the game for the first time, as well as offering coaching courses and local leagues for the more serious players."
The two International Hockey Federation (FIH) standard water-based artificial pitches at Sports City will be the only dedicated hockey pitches in Dubai. The World Hockey Academy has been established through a partnership between Sports City and the FIH. The academy will also offer elite training facilities, and analysis software to support the coaching effort. Hockey's profile in this country is assured of a boost next year when Sports City stages the Asia Cup. The tournament doubles as a qualifying competition for the 2010 World Cup, which will be staged in India.
The large expat workforce in the UAE provides ready support for the game. Hockey has a massive following in the subcontinent. Pakistan have won the sport's World Cup four times - more than anyone else. Hockey is still the official national sport of India. email@example.com