|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
De Nooijer is 2006 best hockey player
September 16, 2006 20:49 IST
Dutch ace Teun de Nooijer created history on Saturday afternoon when he was named WorldHockey's men's Player of the Year for a record third time.
The awards were presented by International Olympic Committee president Dr Jacques Rogge and FIH president Mrs Els van Breda Vriesman during half-time of the seventh place play-off in the BDO Hockey World Cup in Monchengladbach, Germany.
De Nooijer's victory as 2006's best player gives him a third title in four years and confirms his standing as the undisputed king of world hockey. The only other man to have won the player of the year award more than once is de Nooijer's former team mate Stephan Veen (1998, 2000).
Germany received a boost ahead of its clash with Australia in Sunday's World Cup final, with striker Christopher Zeller being named the WorldHockey men's Young Player of the Year. The award is presented to the outstanding player under the age of 23.
De Nooijer was a clear winner in the senior category after votes were cast by players from each of the 12 competing teams at the World Cup.
Despite his team's struggles in Germany over the past week, the 30-year-old has remained a dominant force with his pace and creativity stretching opposition defenses.
Earlier this year, de Nooijer was the decisive factor in the final as the Netherlands claimed a record-equalling eighth Champions Trophy crown in Terrassa.
It was his sixth Champions Trophy gold medal and added yet another title to an outstanding career that has also garnered two Olympic Games and a World Cup crown.
Zeller has been in dynamic form in 2006 and his performances in Monchengladbach and also at the Champions Trophy have been one of the main factors in Germany's appearance in two consecutive major tournament finals.
The 21-year-old has been a constant threat throughout 2006 but especially at the World Cup, where his high standard of play helped take Germany to the verge of consecutive World Cup victories.