Indian men’s and women’s hockey team coaches Graham Reid and Janneke Schopman were on Thursday voted as FIH Coaches of the Year in their respective categories.
This is the second consecutive time Reid won the award, while India coach Sjoerd Marijne was the winner of the FIH women’s coach of the year award last season.
Under Australian Reid, India has reached many new highs, which includes winning its first Olympic medal (bronze) at the Tokyo Games in 2021, after a gap of 41 years. India also won a silver medal at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, climbing back onto the podium after missing out in the previous edition in Australia.
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India played its first full season of FIH Hockey Pro League in 2021-22, and earned a well-deserved place on the podium, finishing in the third position behind Netherlands and Belgium.
Reid’s team managed to score 62 goals, the highest tally of goals scored by a team, not just in this season, but in the history of the Pro League.
Reid, who took charge in April 2019, was also the coach of the Indian men’s hockey team that won the inaugural FIH Hockey5s in Lausanne this year, winning every single game along the way.
He got 31.4 points in the online voting, followed by Netherlands coach Jeroen Delmee (26.9 points) and Belgium coach Michel van den Heuvel (20.2 points). The votes were cast online by experts (40%), teams (20%), fans (20%) and media (20%).
These awards are representative of how the team plays and not the individual and I think that’s the environment I try to foster in the group. It’s fantastic to receive the award but I think it’s the whole team that has achieved it, Reid said in a release.
“The coaches of other teams are all world class; they have their own way of doing things and to win amongst those coaches is a big honour. I know how difficult it is and this kind of leadership at the top is very lively, you try and make pretty tough decisions each day.”
Schopman, on the other hand, got 38.2 points in the voting as she beat Netherlands coach Jamilon Mulders (28.2) and Australia coach Katrina Powell (19.5) in the coveted award.
After India’s remarkable run in the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021, where they missed out on a bronze medal by a whisker, the tough task of replicating similar success fell to Schopman.
The Indian team under Schopman made its debut in the FIH Hockey Pro League in the 2021-22 season and produced incredible results, including wins over Germany, Netherlands, Spain and eventual champions Argentina (in a shoot-out) to finish in the third position.
The Indian team then finished on the podium in the 2022 Birmingham CWG, for the first time in 16 years, defeating New Zealand in the bronze medal match in a shoot-out.
“It really does feel pretty amazing to win the award when you are up against some of the finest Coaches in the world. Again, the award is a recognition of what the players were able to execute on the field and I am happy the team is progressing well,” the Dutchwoman said on her feat.
On Wednesday, PR Sreejesh and Savita Punia were voted as FIH men’s and women’s goalkeeper of the year, while Mumtaz Khan was named FIH women’s rising star of the year on Tuesday.
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