Chandigarh: Belgium captain and Olympic silver medallist John-John Dohmen and Netherlands' Naomi van As won the International Hockey Federation's (FIH) male and female Player of the Year (2016) awards respectively at the gala FIH Hockey Stars Awards Ceremony, in Chandigarh on Thursday.
For the first time in the sport's history an awards ceremony was held to honour the best players, goalkeepers, rising stars, coaches and umpires.
There were two Indians in the fray - captain and goalkeeper of the Indian team PR Sreejesh (Goalkeeper of the Year) and Harmanpreet Singh (Rising Star of the Year) but both returned empty-handed.
After receiving a number of noteworthy awards since her Rio 2016 success, Great Britain's Olympic gold medallist Maddie Hinch admitted that winning the Hockey Stars 2016 female Goalkeeper of the Year was the pinnacle. Ireland's David Harte, meanwhile, was crowned the best in the world for the second year in a row as he received the male Goalkeeper of the Year.
Belgium's Rio 2016 Olympics medal success was a big factor in the nation's athletes picking up two awards, with Dohmen's compatriot Arthur Van Doren being named male Rising Star of the Year (aged 23 years and under).
Maria Granatto from Argentina picked up the female Rising Star of the Year after a hugely successful period which saw her team win the 2016 Hockey Champions Trophy, where she won Best Junior Player, as well as being crowned Hockey Junior World Cup champions in November.
Coach of the Year awards in both male and female categories went to Great Britain with Danny Kerry winning the recognition in the men's section and Karen Brown in the women's section.
The male Umpire of the Year award went to Germany's Christian Blasch while the recognition in the women's category was bagged by Laurine Delforge of Belgium.
It is the first ceremony of its kind to recognise those who have made such a significant contribution to the sport.
The FIH, in partnership with Hockey India, orgainsed the Hockey Stars Awards 2016 ceremony that celebrated the success of the winners, providing an opportunity to reflect on what was a truly remarkable year for the game.
Speaking about the event, FIH president Narinder Batra said: "Sincere congratulations to all of the award winners today. I'm delighted that this stunning event has given them the global recognition that they deserve. Their performances and achievements in 2016 have inspired the next generation in their respective fields and they should all be very proud of their success."
FIH CEO Jason McCracken added: "What a fantastic celebration of what was a memorable year for our sport. The winners here today are role models to so many people, whether young players or goalkeepers to those thinking about moving into coaching or officiating. These annual awards are hugely important in respect of raising the profile of our stars and our sport and key to achieving the Hockey Revolution's aim of making hockey a global game that inspires the next generation."
Updated Date: Feb 23, 2017 17:20 PM