In a glittering Awards ceremony, the 2014 Congress recognised and celebrated the achievements of individuals, teams and National Associations who contribute so much to the sport of hockey.

The evening began with the award of the Order of Merit, which went to recently retired Australian Coach, Ric Charlesworth (AUS) for his unique personal achievements and contribution to international hockey. Europe’s own Peter Child (GER) and Ben Rea (ENG) received Diploma of Merit Awards for their efforts in the development of, and growing popularity of Masters Hockey.

President’s Awards were presented to Dr Narinder Batra (IND) and Valentina Quaranta (ITA), for their lengthy and valuable services to hockey. Dr Narinder Batra, for his commitment to the development of hockey in India during the last five years, including the creation of the Hockey India League. And Valentina in recognition of her tireless work to promote hockey in Tanzania.

In recognition of her outstanding career dedicated to umpiring at the highest standards, the Guust Lathouwers Memorial Trophy went to retired World Cup and Olympic umpire Renée Cohen (NED).

The René G. Frank Super Fair Play Trophy was presented to South Africa hockey. The teams and athletes of South Africa travel far and wide to attend as many events as possible at expense to the players as they are not fully funded. This commitment and also the production of outstanding officials from the country, were recognised with the Award.

The Pablo Negre Trophy went to the Uruguay Hockey Federation in recognition of the increase in popularity of hockey over the last two years in Uruguay. A highlight being hockey was the only team sport from Uruguay to qualify for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games. Uruguay received a new hockey pitch and lighting, kindly donated by Polytan STI and Musco lighting respectively.

Hockey has become the fastest growing sport in the small nation of Vanuatu, as identified by their Olympic Committee. This accolade from the Committee, is due in no part to the efforts of the Vanuatu Hockey Federation over the last four years. Their efforts were duly recognised with the Etienne Glichitch Award.

The Theo Ykema Award went to the Czech Republic Hockey Federation for their development initiatives and subsequent increase in hockey activities and players across the country.

The hockey world lost a true friend with the passing of HRH Sultan Azlan Shah earlier this year. Many people regarded Sultan Azlan Shah as the ‘father of Asian hockey’, and the Sultan Azlan Shah international tournament, which he inaugurated in 1983, remains one of the most prestigious invitational tournaments in the world. His life, services to and passion for hockey were honoured by the FIH with a Posthumous Honorary Membership.

FIH President, Leandro Negre commented on the ceremony: “It has given me great pleasure to be a part of tonight’s Awards ceremony and I extend my congratulations once again to the winners for their fantastic achievements.”

Source: FIH

Photograph: EHF/FRANK UIJLENBROEK