India continued to draw a blank as Netherlands’ Eva de Goede and Arthur Van Doren of Belgium were on Thursday named as the International Hockey Federation’s (FIH) Players of the Year for 2018. Since the inception of the awards in 1998, no Indian hockey player has managed to bag the coveted awards.
While de Goede, 29, was named the Female Player of the Year, world champions Belgium’s Van Doren, 24, was picked up as the Male Player of the Year for a second consecutive time. Red Lions defender Van Doren is one of four Belgian winners in the FIH Hockey Stars Awards for 2018. Last year Van Doren claimed both the Player and Rising Star of the Year Awards.
Van Doren was not the only member of the Belgian set-up to win an award, with 31-year-old Red Lions shot-stopper Vincent Vanasch, a star performer in Belgium’s shoot-out triumph over the Netherlands in the World Cup final, claiming 46 per cent of votes to win his second successive Men’s Goalkeeper of the Year title.
Arthur De Sloover’s stunning, composed performances in the Belgium defence saw him being named as Male Rising Star of the Year, the prize available to players born on or after 1 January 1996. Belgium’s World Cup-winning head coach Shane McLeod was named Male Coach of the Year, with the New Zealander adding a second title to the one he shared with Netherlands coach Max Caldas at the 2017 Awards.
Netherlands head coach Alyson Annan was named Female Coach of the Year for a second year in succession. England’s Maddie Hinch, 30, was named Female Goalkeeper of the Year for a third year in a row, adding another title to those claimed in 2016 and 2017.
The Female Rising Star Award went to 22-year-old Argentina midfielder Lucina von der Heyde. It was the fourth time in five years that the Rising Star prize has been won by a player from Argentina, with Florencia Habif winning the award in 2014 before Maria Granatto claimed back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017.
The world’s top officials were also given deserved recognition. Germany’s Michelle Meister was chosen by the FIH Officials Committee as Female Umpire of the Year and Poland’s Marcin Grochal won Male Umpire of the Year.
Speaking about this year’s awards, FIH President Narinder Batra said: “I wish to offer my sincere congratulations to all FIH Hockey Stars Award winners for their outstanding contributions to 2018, a special and hugely memorable year for our sport.
“To be named as the very best in the world in a chosen field, whether as a player, coach or an umpire, is an honour that recognises relentless dedication, hard work and sacrifice in order to attain such a high level.”