Paumen & Michelsen named 2011 FIH Players of the Year

[img_assist|nid=2770|title=Maartje Paumen wins FIH Player of the year 2012|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=250|height=177]Netherlands captain adds senior prize to the Young Player title she won in 2008

Netherlands captain Maartje Paumen has been honoured by her fellow international hockey players by being named as the women’s FIH Player of the Year for 2011, with New Zealand’s Stacey Michelsen claiming the Young Player award. 

The winners were presented with their prizes at the Argentina FIH Champions Trophy in Rosario by FIH President Leandro Negre, with the ceremony taking place shortly after the two players went head-to-head in the crucial Quarter Final match between their respective nations. 

Maartje Paumen has long been recognised as one of the world’s finest penalty corner flickers, but in 2011 she firmly established herself as both an exceptional midfielder and inspirational captain as the Netherlands re-claimed their place at the top of the FIH World Rankings. Paumen was the driving force behind Dutch triumphs in the EuroHockey Nations Championships (Mönchengladbach, GER) as well as the Rabo FIH Champions Trophy (Amstelveen, NED), where she produced a stunning hat-trick against world champions Argentina in the tournament final to help her team recover from 3-0 down before claiming victory in a dramatic penalty shoot-out. She finished as top scorer in both events and was named Player of the Tournament at the Champions Trophy.

Paumen took first place ahead of Argentina’s seven times winner Luciana Aymar, legendary Germany striker Natascha Keller, South Africa’s world record goal-scorer Pietie Coetzee and the outstanding Li Hongxia of China.

Paumen’s success in the FIH Player of the Year Award arrives just two days after she wrote herself into the history books in Rosario. On Tuesday 31st January 2012, she became the highest goal-scorer in Champions Trophy history when she netted twice in the Netherlands’ 4-1 win over Japan. The double strike took her past the existing record of 22 goals set by Germany’s Nadine Ernsting-Krienke, a landmark which had stood for five years. At just 26 years of age, it is clear that Maartje Paumen is likely to continue improving this mark for many years to come.

Stacey Michelsen fought off competition from the most exciting up-and-coming talents in the sport to win the women’s FIH Young Player of the Year Award, such as Dutch duo Joyce Sombroek and Willemijn Bos, USA star Katelyn Falgowski and compatriot Charlotte Harrison.  Since making her debut in 2009, the now 20-year-old Michelsen has made a name for herself as an energetic and supremely skilful midfielder who has a keen eye for goal. She has now clocked up well over 70 international appearances and looks likely to have an outstanding playing career ahead of her. Despite being one of the youngest players in the side, Michelsen is central figure in a Black Sticks team that has re-established itself as a hockey powerhouse over the past 12 months, a fact highlighted by their Bronze medal success at last year’s Rabo FIH Champions Trophy. She becomes the first ever New Zealander to win an FIH Player of the Year Award.

Nominations for this prestigious prize were put together by a panel of selected coaches from many of the world’s best international teams, including Max Caldas (Netherlands), Adam Commens (Australia), Michael Behrmann (Germany), Danny Kerry (England & Great Britain) and Mark Hager (New Zealand) before a player vote determined the respective winners.

The Men’s FIH Players of the Year award winners were announced at the Owen G Glenn FIH Champions Trophy last December, with Australian duo Jamie Dwyer and Matthew Swann winning the respective Player and Young Player prizes. It was Dwyer’s fifth FIH Player of the Year Award, following wins in 2004, 2007, 2009 and 2010, with the star attacker also claiming the Young Player prize in 2002.

Past winners
1998       Alyson Annan  (AUS)
1999       Natascha Keller (GER)
2000       Alyson Annan (AUS)
2001       Luciana Aymar (ARG)
2002       Cecilia Rognoni (ARG)
2003       Mijntje Donners (NED)
2004       Luciana Aymar (ARG)
2005       Luciana Aymar (ARG)
2006       Minke Booij (NED)
2007       Luciana Aymar (ARG)
2008       Luciana Aymar (ARG)
2009       Luciana Aymar (ARG) & Naomi van As (NED)
2010       Luciana Aymar (ARG)
2011    Maartje Paumen (NED)

Young Women
2001       Angie Skirving (AUS)
2002       Soledad Garcia (ARG)
2003       Maartje Scheepstra (NED)
2004       Soledad Garcia (ARG)
2005       Maartje Goderie (NED)
2006       Mi Hyun Park (KOR)
2007       Maike Stockel (GER)
2008       Maartje Paumen (NED)
2009       Casey Eastham (AUS)
2010       Zhao Yudiao (CHN)
2011       Stacey Michelsen (NZL)