By Rod Gilmour
When Koen Suyk replaced one of his old cameras a few months ago, the photography shop asked the veteran Dutch photographer for his superb image of Alex Danson, below, to accompany the equipment.
He joked: “It’s an old camera and perhaps the camera is worse without Alex’s picture for it to be sold.”
That’s how well known this image is.
Suyk, who has worked at six summer Olympic Games, received plaudits for the picture which was taken during England’s 4-1 defeat of Germany at the 2015 EuroHockey Championships in London when the hosts beat the Dutch to gold.
It was handed best sports picture at the Dutch press awards and the evocative shot not only captures the excitement of the sport but also Danson’s unwavering determination.
“It was a very nice moment,” recalls Suyk. “It was an evening match and always difficult but it’s sharp and that what’s important. She hit the ball and tried to do it again. I had one moment to do it and this is the only picture.”
Five years on, Danson, who scored a hat-trick that night at Lee Valley as England topped the group, still vividly recalls the moment in the match.
She recalled: “The ball had come across and back off the keeper who was way off her line. It was so out of my reach that if I could connect I might be able to hit it over her.
“I think it captures the best of hockey: the athleticism, you can throw yourself about and it’s just a great picture.To capture it in that moment was unbelievable.”
Koen gave the image to her in a sports photography book following his accolades, while Danson was sent an almost life-size version of the image some time later.
“Living in a small flat in Marlow I had to turn it around as you couldn’t have a massive picture of me when people walked in,” laughed Danson.
Suyk says he was just in the right place at the right time, the image all the better with Danson as the centrepiece.
“She was everywhere on the pitch and a frenetic player. I liked to take pictures when she played.”