Berlin, February 7: Belgium's Arthur Van Doren and Argentina's Delfina Merino were adjudged the Best Male and Female Players of the Year at the FIH's annual Hockey Stars Awards night in Germany in which none of the Indians were honoured.
Other awardees of the night at the glitzy event held at Stilwerk Berlin include Argentina's Maria Jose Granatto, who won the Female Rising Star of the Year for the second consecutive year and Great Britain's Maddie Hinch who was another to secure back-to-back success after being named Female Goalkeeper of the Year while Vincent Vanasch added to Belgium's awards after he was voted as Male Goalkeeper of the Year.
Van Doren, who also won the Rising Star of the Year honour had a terrific season in which he was part of the silver medal winning team at the EuroHockey Championships in Amsterdam and a first-place finish at the Hockey World League semifinal in Johannesburg, where the defender was also voted Young Player of the Tournament.
Belgium have made huge strides forwards as they have moved up the rankings and regularly find themselves on the podium and Van Doren was delighted to have contributed his part to it.
"I really didn't see this one coming, especially because of the fact that the other nominees are such talented athletes. I'm happy to have won both the awards," said Van Doren, who was winning the Rising Star of the Year award for the second year in a row.
For Merino, a gold medal at the Pan American Cup was the highlight of the year but the incredibly skilled forward was also joint top scorer at the Hockey World League Final in Auckland and received player of the match votes on numerous occasions as she led her team from the front.
While happy at receiving the honour, Merino was looking at the larger picture ahead in a year in which World Cup is top on agenda.
"I think we did a really good job as a team, so I'm really looking forward to the coming year with Las Leonas. The World Cup is a really big event and it is going to be tough because every team trains hard to be successful there, but we will fight really hard to win that title," Merino said.
(With FIH inputs)