Naomi van As last won the FIH World Player of the Year in 2009 but in the intervening seven years, she has established herself as one of the most consistent players on the Netherland’s team.
She made her debut for the national team in 2003 and, since then, has won the World Cup twice (2006 and 2014), has two Olympic gold medals (2008 and 2012) and in 2016 was part of the silver medal winning Dutch team at the Rio Olympics.
The Rio Olympics was to be Naomi’s swan-song as the tall midfield/forward has decided to call time on her international hockey career, concentrating upon a burgeoning future in television and media. Presently, the hockey star is presenting a children’s programme and this is something she wants to do a lot more of now she has hung up her stick.
“It’s a great honour to win this award, the FIH World Player of the Year,” says van As. “We were obviously disappointed with the way the 2016 season ended because we lost the Olympic final in Rio via shoot outs to Great Britain. But winning this individual award gives our silver Olympic medal from the Rio Olympics a little more shine.
“Looking back on my career, I am very thankful, very proud and see it all as a great experience. Although it was serious, it was also always driven along with a sense of fun – with my teammates, the coaches and, of course, the fans.”