Blue turf at Riverbank Arena ready for hockey contenders

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Riverbank Arena
Bangalore, Jul 3: The Riverbank Arena (RA) will host besides the hockey tournament in this year's Olympics and the Paralympic five-a-side and seven-a-side football in August-September. The RA in the Olympic Park at Hackney in eastern London was initially known as the Hockey Centre and was renamed in January this year (it is located near the River Lee). A temporary venue, the RA has two separate pitches ---- one with a seating capacity of 16,000 and another for warming up. The budget of the centre is £19 million.

The main pitch was unveiled in October last year although it was only in March this year that the RA was completed. The Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine inaugurated the venue. She also met the Great Britain hockey team and hit some shots on the new surface.

An International Invitational Hockey Tournament was staged at the RA in early May where teams from Germany, Great Britain and South Korea participated. The venue was successfully tested during the event.
After the London Games are over, the RA will be shifted to the north of the Olympic Park, where it will be made a part of the Eton Manor facility.

The seating capacity will though be reduced to 3,000, but it could be expanded to 15,000 during big clashes. The RA has been designed by Stanton Williams and engineered by Arup, an architecture firm. The arena will be later owned by Lee Valley Regional Park Authority in partnership with England Hockey. The centre will host both international hockey and community events after the mega showdown.

During the Olympics, Games Mobility service will be available at the RA. A London 2012 Shop is also there while authorities will put up a London 2012 information points service to help visitors on the venue and sports, transport updates, provide lost and found services and pushchair and wheelchair storage.

Reaching the RA: National Rail, London Underground and Docklands Light Railway services can be availed to reach the venue. Bus and coach service are also available. Stratford station (15 minutes walk) is at the east of the Olympic Park where the RA is located while West Ham station (25 minutes walk) lies to the south. Copper Box and the Velodrome are the closest venues to the RA.

India beat France 4-0 to win series 2-0

India drubbed a defensive France 4-0 in the second friendly Test in Le Touquet on Sunday to win the two-match series 2-0 ahead of the London Olympics. India had won the first match 8-2 in Ville. Drag-flicker Sandeep Singh scored from two penalty corners while VR Raghunath and Danish Mujtaba were the other two scorers. India rested skipper Bharat Chetri, Shivendra Singh and rookies Nitin and Somanna for the match. India will head for Santander in Spain from France where they will train for two weeks before playing the hosts and Great Britain in a triangular meet from Jul 14-18.

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