Asia: Xan de Waard (NED) and Hardik Singh (IND) named FIH Players of the Year!

Following a vote by an Expert Panel, National Associations – represented by their respective national teams’ captains and coaches – fans and media, Xan de Waard (Netherlands) and Hardik Singh (India) have been elected 2023 FIH Players of the Year!


While India’s Savita and Dutch goalkeeper Pirmin Blaak won the FIH Goalkeepers of the Year awards, the awards for FIH Rising Stars went to Teresa Lima (ESP) and Gaspard Xavier (FRA).


China women’s head coach Alyson Annan and Germany men’s head coach, André Henning won the FIH Coaches of the Year awards, while Ayanna McClean (Trinidad-and-Tobago) and Ben Göntgen (Germany) were awarded with the FIH Umpires of the Year.


FIH Best Player of the Year (voted by Expert Panel, National Associations – represented by their respective national teams’ captains and coaches -, fans and media)


Female – Xan de Waard (NED)


It was a no-brainer when it came to this award with de Waard’s skills on the pitch along with her leadership skills making her the clear winner. Not a regular goal-scorer, but someone who sets up the tone for the world’s No.1 Hockey team. With more than 200 matches to her kitty already at the age of 28, Xan de Waard has achieved so much in the game already and still has a bright future.


After knowing about one of her biggest achievements in life, de Waard said: “Really happy and honored to be voted as the FIH Player of the Year. Thank you for voting for me and I hope to see you at the Olympics.!


Watch here how Xan learnt about her award!


Player Fans Media Nas Expert Panel Total
Xan de Waard (NED) 3.7 6.7 8.9 32 51.3
Charlotte Englebert (BEL) 2.1 3 2.2 4 11.3
Rosie Malone (AUS) 1.9 2.4 1.3 0 5.6
Eugenia Trinchinetti (ARG) 10.6 6.1 5.8 0 22.5
Sonja Zimmermann (GER) 1.7 1.8 1.8 4 9.3


Male – Hardik Singh (IND)


With 114 caps to his name, Hardik is the next big thing in Indian Hockey. He rightly showcased that, when he became a vital cog in India’s bronze-medal win at the 2020 Olympics and his performance have gone from strength to strength since then. This is Hardik’s second big award this year as he was also awarded the Hockey India Balbir Singh Sr. Award for Player of the Year 2022. With his flamboyance in the midfield, he has become one of the pivotal members of the Indian team in recent years. This award will be a big boost for the 25-year-old who is on his way to becoming a legend!


“When you’ve got a great team, they make your game better and life easier. I am grateful for all those who have voted for me and thankful to the entire team and Hockey India for helping me reach this stage,” said the current vice-captain of the Indian men’s hockey team.


Watch here how Hardik learnt about his award!


Player Fans Media NAs Expert Panel Total
Thierry Brinkman (NED) 4.5 2.4 4.1 4 15
Jeremy Hayward (AUS) 3 1.5 2 0 6.5
Hardik Singh (IND) 6.5 12.2 7.3 8 34
Zach Wallace (ENG) 2.5 2 1.6 8 14.1
Niklas Wellen (GER) 3.5 2 4.9 20 30.3



FIH Goalkeeper of the Year (voted by Expert Panel, National Associations – represented by their respective national teams’ captains and coaches -, fans and media)


Female – Savita (IND)


This is Savita’s third FIH Women’s Goalkeeper of the Year Award consecutively, after winning it in 2021 and 2022. The Indian custodian has been in prolific form throughout 2023. Starting from the Test matches in Australia to the recently held Asian Games, Savita has been on top of her game. The 33-year-old helped India emerge as the Champions of the Asian Champions Trophy held in October in India. She will be looking to help India qualify for the Paris Olympics with a top three finish at the upcoming FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifier 2024 in January next year.


The Indian skipper said: “Thankful to all my teammates and support staff who have helped me grow as an individual. This award will motivate me to work harder and get more success for our country. Lastly, thankful to all those who voted for me.”


Watch here how Savita learnt about her award!


Player Fans Media NAs Expert Panel Total
Jocelyn Bartram (AUS) 2.3 1 3 4 10.2
Kelsey Bing (USA) 1.6 2.4 1.6 4 9.5
Josine Koning (NED) 4.2 5.2 3 4 16.5
Savita (IND) 9.4 10.5 9.1 12 40.9
Julia Sonntag (GER) 2.5 1 3.4 16 22.8


Male – Pirmin Blaak (NED)


The world class shot stopper, who helped the Dutch clinch a commendable third position at the FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup in India this year, has been awarded the FIH Men’s Goalkeeper of the Year, just pipping Vincent Vanasch (BEL) in the voting by the tiniest of margins. The 35-year-old starred in the Dutch team’s first-place finish in Season 4 of the FIH Hockey Pro League earlier this year.


“It’s always a dream for a young goalkeeper to become one of the best in the world. I am happy to have won this award whilst I had some great goalkeepers competing with me for this. I want to thank everyone who voted for me and made me the winner of this prestigious award”, said Pirmin after being announced as the FIH Goalkeeper of the Year.


Watch here how Pirmin learnt about his award!



Player Fans Media Nas Expert Panel Total
Pirmin Blaak (NED) 5 3.6 2.9 20 31.55
Andrew Charter (AUS) 2.5 1.8 1.5 4 9.8
Jean-Paul Danneberg (GER) 3.9 5.5 4.4 0 13.7
Oliver Payne (ENG) 2.4 3.6 3.4 4 13.4
Vincent Vanasch (BEL) 6.2 5.5 7.8 12 31.49


FIH Coach of the Year (selected by the Expert Panel)


Female – Alyson Annan (AUS)


The Australian legend and the current Head Coach of the Chinese women’s hockey team, who guided them to a historic Asian Games gold medal this year, confirming their place at Paris 2024, has won the female FIH Coach of the Year award. A top-notch forward during her playing days, Annan coached the Dutch to consecutive podium finishes at the 2016 and 2020 Olympics. She then joined the Chinese hockey team in May 2022 and is now building the Asian giants to be one of the best in the world.


“I am very honored to receive this award. I would like to thank China hockey; it has been a fantastic year and I really enjoy coaching this team with this staff. this award is a credit to the dedication of all the players and staff involved,” said Annan.


The Chinese Women’s Hockey Team congratulated coach Annan on winning the FIH Coach of the Year award: “We have gained a lot in the past year, and in the next year, we will surely redouble our efforts to achieve good results in the Paris Olympic Games.”


Watch the reaction of the Chinese female team here!


Male – André Henning (GER)


André Henning, the mastermind behind Germany men’s hockey team’s triumph at the World Cup this year, has won the male Coach of the Year award. In his last two years as the Head Coach, Henning’s strategic brilliance has played a pivotal role in making Germany a formidable side at the world stage. Henning’s coaching style is filled with discipline, a winning mentality, and a strong team spirit, making him a source of inspiration for players and coaches alike.


Henning, the coach who had gained a lot of limelight during the World Cup in India this year, said: “I am honored to be receiving this award. Thankful to my entire support staff who have made my life easier both on and off the field. Our collaborative system is something that has helped us succeed as a team.”


Watch André’s reaction here!


FIH Umpire of the Year (selected by the FIH Umpiring Committee)


Female – Ayanna McClean (TTO)


Hailing from Trinidad and Tobago, McClean has already officiated in more than 230 international matches, including at the last Olympics in Tokyo and at the 2022 FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup. The highest-ranked female umpire from the Caribbean will also be seen at the upcoming Olympic Games Paris 2024.


“I am simply speechless. I am humbled for this recognition by FIH and I will make sure to keep doing my best,” exclaimed Ayanna when she came to know that she has been awarded this.


Watch here how Ayanna learnt about her award!


Male – Ben Göntgen (GER)


Ben Göntgen’s whistles have been echoing around international hockey arenas since 2013. He has officiated in more than 180 FIH matches with unwavering precision. The man from Germany blew his whistle this year in the final of the 2023 EuroHockey Championship for Men. He will be officiating at the Olympics next year. He is not only known for his expertise in officiating but also for his dauntless spirit in overcoming setbacks.


Ben was literally speechless when he received the award from Marc Stauder (President Finance DHB): “I really don’t know what to say. For an umpire, this matters a lot. I have no words, but a thank you to all those who have helped me in my journey.”



FIH Rising Star of the Year (= Player of the Tournament at the FIH Hockey Junior World Cups 2023)


Female – Teresa Lima (ESP)


18-year-old Teresa Lima was Spain’s star at the recently concluded FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup 2023. Although her team finished eighth, she was absolutely electrifying on the field. She is definitely one of those to watchout for in the near future.


Expressing her delight on winning the big award, she said: “I am speechless! It is something I was not expecting at all. Obviously, I am super happy and excited. No words, really. Without my teammates, this would not have been possible. On a personal level, I would love to be part of the senior Spanish team, obviously, and my dream would be to make the Olympic Games.”


Watch Teresa’s reaction here!


Male – Gaspard Xavier (FRA)


The 20-year-old French skipper has been a regular in their set-up in the last few years. His skills in holding the ball and setting it up beautifully for the attackers is not something everyone at his age can do. Not to be surprised, he has already capped 33 times for the French Senior men’s team and will be a key part of their Olympic Games campaign in Paris next year.


He marshalled the French defense and the team, taking them all the way to the final. Although his team lost in the final of the FIH Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup 2023, he emerged as the Player of the Tournament in the said tournament.


“Very proud and honored to have received these two awards. I would like to thank my teammates, the staff and the French Hockey Federation for everything that has been put in place for us. I would also like to thank the fans who were present in Kuala Lumpur. You’ve been extraordinary throughout the tournament”, Gaspard Xavier said.


As mentioned when the nominees were revealed in November, the votes of the Expert Panel count for 40% of the overall result. Those from National Associations count for a further 20%. The fans and other players (20%) as well as the media (20%) make the remaining 40%.

The list of previous winners is available on www.starsawards.hockey.


*Expert Panel members:
Chair (and Joint Chair of the FIH Athletes Committee): Rogier Hofman (NED)
Asia: Deepika (IND) and Tahir Zaman (PAK)
Africa: Jacqueline Mwangi (KEN) and Rassie Pieterse (RSA)
Europe: Janne Müller-Wieland (GER) and Simon Mason (ENG)
Oceania: Amber Church (NZL) and John Mowat (AUS)
PanAmerica: Soledad Iparraguirre (ARG) and Craig Parnham (USA)




by Asia Hockey


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