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Time: 16:21 23 May 2011

GB hockey team test Olympic pitch

4th May 2012

Great Britain's women hockey team have played their first international match on the London 2012 Olympic pitch.

The Riverbank Arena saw the team beat South Korea in a 1-0 test event. Meanwhile, GB's men's team suffered a 3-1 defeat to Germany in the same tournament.

"We know we can play a lot better but it's brilliant to get out there, get the first game in our legs and start building the positivity and the momentum towards the Olympics," said Kate Walsh, the captain of the women's team.

The Olympic pitch is an unusual pink and blue surface and is being tested in a special pre-Olympic series of matches involving four teams over five days.

Initially, the games were watched by a small crowd but by the weekend the matches will be attended by around 12,000 spectators as all of the stands at the arena are opened to the public.

Riverbank Arena has two pitches, one for the main games and the other serves as a warm-up area for the players. The idea behind the pink and blue playing surface is so that the yellow ball can be spotted easily – it is the first time that Olympic hockey has not been played on the more traditional coloured pitch.

The arena was completed at the start of 2012 and after the Games the pitches will be relocated to the north of the Park at the permanent sporting facilities at Eton Manor.

London 2012's first hockey match will take place on July 29th with the finals on August 10th and August 11th. Those lucky to have ballot tickets for the hockey matches will need to snap up central London hotels deals to make the most of the action.

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