Arthur de Sloover first picked up a hockey stick at the age of four and he hasn’t looked back since.
A relatively new member of a Belgium team that has been on an upwards trajectory for the past four years, de Sloover already has a 2017 European Championship silver medal and was Belgium’s youngest player when the team won its first World Cup gold medal, earned in the heat of Bhubaneswar in December.
Add to that Belgium’s rise to the top of the world rankings for the first time in the team’s history and it is clear that de Sloover is an integral part of a very talented squad of players.
The medal haul began for de Sloover in 2016 when he was part of the Belgium junior side that won silver at the 2016 Junior World Championships in Lucknow, India. Belgium lost to hosts India in a thrilling 2-1 match that was played out in front of huge crowds.
Since he joined the senior squad, de Sloover has played almost 60 matches for the Red Lions and has been on the winning or drawing side in all bar 10 games. To be crowned FIH Young Player of the Year is a perfect way to top an outstanding year.
“First of all, I want to thank all my teammates,” said the 21-year-old after receiving the award. “We are all really good friends and without them it would not be possible to stand where I am today.
“Also a big thanks to everyone who voted for me. Of course 2018 was a great year for me personally, and this prize is really the cherry on the cake. I also want to take this opportunity to thank my parents and my sister, because they always supported me and brought me to all my training sessions and games.
“To finish off I want to say that I am really proud to be a “Red Lion” and to be able to represent my country on the biggest stage is the most beautiful thing there is.”