India wins annual International Hockey Federation awards


Lausanne: India won the annual International Hockey Federation awards on Wednesday, taking top honors on the basis of a voting system that was castigated as a “failure” by Belgian male Olympic champions, resulting in urged the FIH to say that it would try to understand why certain associations did not vote.

Five Indian players and the head coaches of Tokyo’s men’s and women’s teams took top honors in different categories after getting the maximum number of votes. The men’s hockey team had won a bronze medal, their first in 41 years, at the Tokyo Olympics, while the women’s team finished in an unprecedented fourth place in the showpiece.

Harmanpreet Singh won the male player of the year award and Gurjit Kaur was recognized as the best player in the women’s section. Veterans PR Sreejesh and Savita Punia took home the best goalkeeper awards in the men’s and women’s section, while young forwards Sharmila Devi (women) and Vivek Sagar Prasad (men) were named top rising stars.

The drag-click duo of Harmanpreet and Gurjit were their respective team’s top scorer in the stellar run at the Games.

Men’s coach Graham Reid and women’s coach Sjoerd Marijne were also voted the best. While Reid is still on the team, Marijne’s tenure ended after the Tokyo Games.

Hockey Belgium reacted strongly to the announcement of the winners and questioned the process as none of their Tokyo Games champions managed to win a prize.

Votes from national associations – represented by their respective national captains and coaches – accounted for 50 percent of the overall result, while fans and players (25 percent), as well as the media (25 percent), made up the other half of the voice.

Note that only 19 associations of the European bloc of 42 members voted, against 29 out of 33 in Asia.

“Hockey Belgium is very disappointed with the outcome of the @FIH_Hockey Star Awards. A gold medalist team with multiple nominees in all categories but not winning a single award demonstrates the failure of the voting system. We will work with the FIH to guarantee a fairer system in the future, ”tweeted the Belgian association.

The sentiment was also shared by the official handle of the team.

“We completely agree! It’s not normal! The credibility and image of our sport are once again going through difficult times. It’s a shame (sic) @FIH, ”said the Red Lions.

In total, 79 national associations voted, the others being Africa (11 out of 25 member associations), Oceania (3 out of 8) and Pan America (17 out of 30).

“And with a record number of almost 300,000 fans voting, the participation of fans at the FIH Hockey Stars Awards has been exceptional,” said FIH.

Following Belgium’s objection, the FIH issued a press release to clarify its position and promised a revision if necessary.

“As can be seen, all of the winning athletes dominated the standings in each of the three voting groups… As always, the FIH will conduct a review of the FIH Hockey Star Awards and make adjustments if necessary. In particular, we will focus on establishing the reasons why a number of national associations did not vote, ”he said.

Nominations from Belgium (men) and the Netherlands (women), who not only crowned Olympic champions but also won the 2020-21 FIH Hockey Pro League, finished behind the Indians once the votes were counted.

The Belgian duo of Alexander Hendrickx and Arthur van Doren were voted second and third best men’s players respectively, with Vincent Vanasch (Belgium) named second best goalkeeper and Shane McLeod of New Zealand second best coach.

On the women’s side, Eva de Goede and Frédérique Malta from the Netherlands took second and third place respectively for the Player of the Year awards while Alyson Annan from Australia finished second for the FIH Coach Award. the year.

British goalkeeper Maddie Hinch, rising star Fiona Crackles and Australian coach Mark Hager all finished third in their respective categories.

As the FIH Hockey Stars Awards were skipped in 2020 due to the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic on the international calendar, this year’s awards covered the period from January 2020 to the conclusion of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. , declared the FIH.

“The voting process began on August 23 and ended on September 15, 2021. Votes from the national associations – represented by their respective national captains and coaches – accounted for 50 percent of the overall result, while fans and the players (25 percent), as well as the media (25 percent), made the other half of the votes, ”he added.

Hockey India President Gyanendro Ningombam congratulated the winners.

“This is a great moment for Indian hockey as all of our Indian nominees for the FIH Stars Awards have been announced as winners.

“After the historic performances in Tokyo of the Indian men’s and women’s hockey teams, the support from Indian fans around the world has been overwhelming,” he said.

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