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Backlash over the 2021 FIH Star Awards

FIH Receive Widespread condemnation and surprise from National Associations, Players and Fans as the eight (!) FIH Awards all have an Indian winner.

Widespread condemnation and surprise from National Associations, Players and Fans as the eight (!) FIH Awards all have an Indian winner.

Gurjit Kaur and Harmanpreet Singh can call themselves the best hockey players in the world. They are the successors of Eva de Goede and Belgian defender Arthur Van Doren, who won the individual prize in the past two elections.

The final verdict of the election is based on votes from national associations, represented by captain and coaches (50 percent), fans and players (25 percent) and media (25 percent).

Marijne best coach

The Indian prize harvest still has a Dutch touch: Sjoerd Marijne was elected best coach in the world, as ex-national coach of the Indian women. The awards are based on performance between January 2020 and the Olympic Games. Under the leadership of Marijne, the Indian team made great progress in that period and reached the semi-finals of the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Among the ladies were also the Indian Savita (best goalkeeper) and Sharmila Devi (Rising Star) in the prizes. For the men, the other prizes went to PR Sreejesh (best goalkeeper), Vivek Prasad (Rising Star) and the Australian coach of the Indian men, Graham Reid (best coach).

The Orange Ladies can be found in second place (Eva de Goede), third place (Frédérique Matla) and sixth place (Maria Verschoor). Alyson Annan also finished in second place in the election of best coach in international women’s hockey.

A Surprise to Many

With all eight awards going to India, the backlash on social media has been very condemning of the FIH and the voting system. With a system that is more inclined to a popularity vote, than an actual talent vote, there are no surprises that such an outcome can happen. Especially when you consider the 1.8billion population of India.

Not taking away from the great achievement, from both Indian Men and Women, at this years Olympic Games and the ability of the winning players and coaches, questions have and continue to be asked as to why and how ‘the system’ allows this to happen.

The Stars Align

Players from all over the world have come together on social media to demand a change in the way the FIH operates these awards. From some calling it an “Absolute Joke” to National Association urging the FIH to get the voting system right.

FIH Respond to Criticism

The FIH tried to respond to such backlash, releasing a statement to defend their position, which, in the words of Justin Reid Ross, “Only. Making. It. Worse”.

Results FIH Awards

FIH Player of the Year (women)

  1. Gurjit Kaur (India)
  2. Eva the Good (Netherlands)
  3. Frederique Matla (Netherlands)
  4. Agustina Albertarrio (Argentina)
  5. Agustina Gorzelany (Argentina)
  6. Maria Verschoor (Netherlands)

FIH Player of the Year (men)

  1. Harmanpreet Singh (India)
  2. Alexander Hendrickx (Belgium)
  3. Arthur van Doren (Belgium)
  4. Aran Zalewski (Australia)
  5. Tim Brand (Australia)
  6. Jake Whetton (Australia)

FIH Goalkeeper of the Year (women):

  1. Savita (India)
  2. Belen Succi (Argentina)
  3. Maddie Hinch (Great Britain)

FIH Goalkeeper of the Year (men):

  1. PR Sreejesh (India)
  2. Vincent Vanasch (Belgium)
  3. Andrew Charter (Australia)

FIH Rising Star of the Year (women):

  1. Sharmila Devi (India)
  2. Valentina Raposo (Argentina)
  3. Fiona Crackles (Great Britain)

FIH Coach of the Year (men):

  1. Vivek Prasad (India)
  2. Mustaphaa Cassiem (South Africa)
  3. Sean Findlay (New Zealand)

FIH Coach of the Year (women):

  1. Sjoerd Marijne (India)
  2. Alyson Annan (Netherlands)
  3. Mark Hager (Great Britain)

FIH Coach of the Year (men):

  1. Graham Reid (India)
  2. Shane McLeod (Belgium)
  3. Colin Batch (Australia)

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