The Kookaburras’ silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics has been further acknowledged with Head Coach Colin Batch and four of the team’s stars announced as finalists in the annual International Hockey Federation (FIH) Hockey Stars Awards.
Kookaburras co-captain Aran Zalewski, midfielder Jake Whetton and striker Tim Brand are among six players in contention for the FIH Men’s Player of the Year Award.
Goalkeeper Andrew Charter joins India’s Parattu Raveendran Sreejesh and Belgium’s Vincent Vanasch in the running to be named the FIH Men’s Goalkeeper of the Year.
Brand, Whetton and Zalewski had outstanding Olympic tournaments, while Charter also had a strong campaign highlighted by his heroics in the quarter final penalty shootout win over the Netherlands.
Batch, who was named the FIH 2019 Coach of the Year, has again been shortlisted for the accolade after guiding the Kookaburras through an Olympic campaign where their only loss came in the heartbreaking defeat in the Gold Medal Match.
The winners of each award are determined by National Associations (represented by their respective national captains and coaches), which will count for 50% of the overall result, while fans and players (25%) and the media (25%) make up the other half of the votes.
The finalists in each category were decided by an expert group combined of representatives from the FIH Athletes Committee, High Performance managers, media and FIH Executive Members.
In addition to the Kookaburras quintet, three other Australians are also shortlisted for awards.
They include Alyson Annan (former Hockeyroo and current Netherlands Women’s Head Coach), Mark Hager (former Kookaburra and current Great Britain Women’s Head Coach), and Graham Reid (former Kookaburra and current India Men’s Head Coach).
Due to the limited international hockey played last year and in the first six months of this year due to COVID, the FIH merged the 2020 and 2021 awards.
The winners of all FIH Hockey Stars Awards 2020-2021 will be announced in late September / early October 2021.