(Photo: Treeby Images)

In early April the FIH announced the candidates for the first-ever FIH Athletes’ Committee elections set to take place during this year’s Rabobank Hockey World Cup in the Hague, Netherlands. Over five days, athletes will have the opportunity to elect two women and two men, making of four of the total eight seats, of the FIH Athlete’s Committee. The remaining four seats will be appointed by the FIH Executive Board in March 2015.

The 21 candidates represent all five continents with seven of the 21 being goalkeepers and four current committee members. The most experienced candidate on the list is Pakistan’s Waseem Ahmed, who boasts over 400 caps, while five others have more than 290 caps to their name, showcasing the quality of this year’s candidates. Six of the players on the nomination list are former players, while the remainder are still competing for their country. 

Male Candidates  Click here to view the Athletes' Committee webpage
Ahmed

Waseem Ahmed     |    Twitter: @WaseemHockey    Facebook

Country: Pakistan

With over 400 international caps, Waseem Ahmed has competed in three Olympics for Pakistan, with his team’s best finish being fourth at the Sydney Games. In addition, Waseem has competed in four World Cups and an impressive 12 Champions Trophies. A former captain of Pakistan, Waseem was named to the FIH World XI in 1999 and has been nominated for FIH Player of the Year three times. He is the most capped player in Pakistan Hockey history and has was awarded the President’s Pride of Performance Award in 2013 by the Government of Pakistan. Waseem is also an active coach and the current President of the Vehari District Hockey Association

CANE

Paolo Cane |  Twitter : @Pauldog82     VIDEO: Click here

Country: Italy

Italian national team defender Paolo Cane has an impressive educational and hockey background. A current player on the squad, Paolo has competed in five Italian National Championships and three Italian National Cups. He competed in the 2013 Indoor EuroHockey Club Challenge and is an active coach at both the senior and junior level. Paolo currently holds a graduate degree in Business Administration and attended Ludwig Maximilian University to complete the Leonardo Da Vinci International Students Program. Paolo currently works as a Compliance Officer in an international company operating in the financial services industry in Turin, Italy. 

DE YOUNG

Liam de Young  |  Twitter: @LiamDeYoung  Instagram: @liamdy

Country : Australia

Recently surpassing the 300-mark for international caps, Liam de Young has racked quite the hockey resume. Medalling in all three of his last three appearances at the Olympics (two bronze and one gold in 2004), Liam is a decorated hockey player for the Kookaburras. This Australian midfielder isn’t done yet as he is about to add his fourth World Cup after a gold performance in 2010 and two silvers in 2006 and 2002. Tack on that he has appeared in eight Champions Trophy events and you have one of the most decorated Australian players on the list. To top it off, Liam also holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Commercial Law & Sports Administration from Curtin University.

FRANZEN

Niclas Franzén  |  Twitter: @NiclasFranzen  Facebook: niclasfranzen

Country: Sweden

Nearing 100 caps for the Swedish national team, Niclas Franzén has been competing for his country since 2004. The 25-year-old speaks four languages including English, Swedish, Danish and Norweigan and has competed in several indoor and outdoor European club championships. Recently, Niclas was named top goalkeeper at the 2013 European Indoor Championship in Lille, France. On the side Niclas is took part in the Swedish Hockey Association’s Hockey Academy and was a project leader for recruitment tournaments for six years. He has been active in coaching and is a moderator for the online blog at fieldhockeyforum.com. Additionally, Niclas won an OBO body armour design competition and has been helping develop goalkeeping equipment ever since. He was named one of the 50 most promising youth athletes in Sweden.

FREIXA

Santi Freixa |  Twitter: @blognetsporting   Facebook: santi.freixaescude

Country: Spain

With more than 120 goals from 177 caps, Santi Freixa has been a stalwart of the Spanish team since 2000, although he has played his hockey across the world, including the Netherlands and a stint in Argentina while he was working as an intern in the financial department of a cement company. During his international career, Santi has won an Olympic silver medal (Beijing 2008), a bronze medal in the 2006 World Cup, a gold medal in the 2005 European Championships and a gold medal in the Champions Trophy in 2004 in Lahore. Santi plays his domestic hockey in the Netherlands for Amsterdam Hockey Club, and prior to that he played for the highly successful Athletic de Terrassa Hockey Club in Spain, winning the Spanish League on five occasions. Santi was been voted as Player of the World Hockey All Stars Team for three years in succession - 2006, 2007 and 2008. 

FURSTE

Moritz Furste  |  Twitter: @moritzfuerste  Facebook: MoritzFuerste

Country: Germany

Olympic gold medals from Beijing 2008 and London 2012, a gold medal from the 2006 World Cup, two European Championship gold medals and two World Indoor gold medals (2007 and 2011) adorn Moritz Furste's trophy cabinet. The German midfielder has 227 international caps and was named the FIH Player of the Year in 2012. During his career Moritz has played for UHC Hamburg, a team he guided to three Euro Hockey League titles (2008, 2010 and 2012) and more recently played for Club de campo in Madrid, Spain. Away from hockey, Moritz has a Masters degree in business and has worked for the past four years for Think, an advertising company that is based in Germany.

HARTE

David Harte  |  Twitter: @daveyharte

Country: Ireland

David Harte wins accolades at just about every tournament his country plays in. At the recent Champions Challenge 1 in Malaysia, David was highly praised for his performances between the sticks, as Ireland made their way to the semi-finals against pre-tournament expectations. He has also won Player of the Tournament awards in Champions Challenge II, Champions Challenge I and World League Round 2. David has been part of the squad that won the European Cup in 2007, 2011 and 2013 and a gold medal at Champions Challenge I in 2011. David plays his domestic hockey in the Netherlands for SV Kampong, and as a fluent Dutch speaker, he teaches Physical Education and is goalkeeping coach to the u16 and u18 players at SV Kampong.

KETTLE

David Kettle  |  Twitter: @dragonkettle  Instagram: @Dkettle

Country: Wales

David Kettle is captain of Wales and vice-captain at the top English National League side Surbiton. He has played for Wales more than 50 times at world level events - World Cup qualifiers and World League. David is no stranger to success, with Surbiton he has been a National Premier League winner three times, won the English National Cup twice and also holds an indoor league medal. A fluent speaker of Malay, David played for two seasons in Australia and one season in Malaysia.

Aside from hockey, David is the athlete representative of the Hockey Wales Technical Action Group committee, a group that is focusing on elite performance within the 2020 Hockey Wales strategy. Hs is also the hockey athlete representative for the Wales Commonwealth Games committee at the upcoming Commonwealth Games.

LHOMME

Henri LHomme  

Country: France

When Henri LHomme isn't standing between the goal-posts either for his country or his club, his mind may well be on far loftier matters because Henri is a project management consultant in aeronautics, space, defence and research. With a degree in mechanical engineering from Insa Lyon engineering school it is amazing he has found the time to also become a top athlete. Henri himself says that he is proud of the fact he has balanced being an elite athlete with raising a family and continuing his career. He is also a member of the French National Olympic Athletes committee.

Henri has 40 caps for France and during that time his team has achieved sixth place in the Nations European Cup 2009 and second place in the Olympic Games qualification tournament in 2012.

 MOHAN

Jiwa Mohan

Country: Malaysia

Jiwa Mohan has played for Malaysia more than 292 times, in an international career spanning nearly 15 years. He made his Olympic debut at the Sydney Olympic Games, and since then has won a bronze medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, a bronze medal at the Asia Cup in 2007, silver in the 2007 Sultan Azlan Cup and bronze at the Asian Champions Trophy.

The midfielders involvement in hockey extends beyond simply playing. He is assistant coach to the Malaysian women's team and actively promotes hockey throughout Malaysia. He is also running a programme for the Penang State Hockey Association for children. When he is not involved in playing, coaching or administrating for hockey, Jiwa is an engineer for a world-wide integrated gas and oil company.

 NEUSSER

Filip Neusser  |  Facebook: Filip.neusser.5

Country: Czech Republic

Mention hockey in the Czech Republic and you will probably mention Filip Neusser in the same breath. The national team's goalkeeper has not just played for his country 154 times, he is also the Head of National Teams for the Czech Hockey Federation, is a member of the Czech Olympic Committee and since 2012 has been chairman of the sports committee in District Prague 3, a post that makes him responsible for the allocation of all financial resources for sport in the district. Filip has also played hockey in Italy, Spain, Germany and England as well as at his own club - HC 1946 Praga.

RECKINGER

Xavier Reckinger  |  Twitter: @Xavierreckinger Instagram: @XRHC

Country: Belgium

Xavier Reckinger has been playing hockey for Belgium since 2001 and in that time he has witnessed his team rising from a world ranking of 14 to their current 5th ranking. With 315 caps to his name, Xavier has played in two Olympics – Beijing and London, the 2002 World Cup and six European Cups. His international experience extends to his club hockey, Xavier has plied his trade as a defender in New Zealand, Australia, the Netherlands and Belgium, enjoying spells with the top clubs in those countries. His day job involves promoting the Red Lions and combining elite sport and business, and he is also involved in an initiative – G-hockey– to introduce hockey to physically and mentally disabled people. 

SANDISON

Scott Sandison   Twitter: @scottysandison  Instagram: @scottysandison

Country: Canada

Scott Sandison has 178 caps for Canada and during that time he has played in  two Commonwealth Games (2002, 2006), an Olympic Games (2008) and a World Cup (2010). In recent years, Canada has been enjoying success in the Pan American competitions, picking up a gold medals at this year's Pan American Indoor World Cup qualifier,  a gold in the 2009 America's Cup and a gold at the 2005 Indoor Pan-American games. Scott's involvement in hockey goes far beyond the medals he has won. As a coach he has worked with Ontario Senior Men; Spanish club CD Terrassa's under-16 boys; and Old Loughtonians, in the English regional league.

SINGH

Sardar Singh  |  Twitter: @8_SardarSingh  Facebook: sardarsingh

Country: India

Sardar Singh is a policeman by profession, but he is best known as the captain and creative midfield player who has graced the India national team since 2005. Sardar has 180 caps to his name and a wealth of experience at tournaments around the world. As a member of the national team he has collected gold medals at the 2007 Asia Cup, the 2009 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and the 2010 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. He was also selected for the FIH World All Stars Team in 2010 and 2011 and was awarded India's highest sporting prize, the Arjuna Award in 2012. Also in 2012, Sardar was player of the tournament as India won the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in New Delhi and later that year he captained India at the 2012 Olympics. Sardar plays his club hockey in The Netherlands at HC Bloemendaal and captained the Delhi Waveriders in the Hockey India League.

VAN DER HORST

Robert van der Horst  |  Twitter: @horst24  Instagram: @horst24

Country: The Netherlands

Robert van der Horst has represented The Netherlands 214 times and plays as a free-ranging defender. He is also captain of the national side and has been nominated three times for the Player of the Year award. Robert was crowned the FIH Young Player of the Year in 2005 and since then he has gone on to play in two Olympics (Beijing 2008 and London 2012). He picked up a silver medal in London after his side lost to Germany in a thrilling final. The Netherlands won the Hockey World League this year, and Robert's two other gold medals came in 2006 at the Champions Trophy and 2007 when The Netherlands were crowned European Champions. 

 

About the FIH Athletes’ Committee  

Each National Association was given the opportunity to nominate one past or present athlete who, if elected, would meet the goals of the committee. The committee is set to represent the views of the athletes within the FIH, protect their interests and uphold their rights and obligations. The group will also serve as a link between the active athletes and the FIH, as well as to help raise awareness and educate athletes on topics of direct concern.

The members of the Athletes’ Committee will serve as a consultative body and will make recommendations to the FIH Executive Board, FIH Committees, Advisory Panels and other bodies. Their roles will also cover seeking and providing feedback to the FIH on behalf of all athletes, whilst developing and promoting resources and initiatives to athletes such as health and welfare, anti-doping, social media, our need to create stars to attract new fans, career preparation and management. The Committee will also play a central role in liaising with the Athletes’ Commission of the IOC and other sporting organisations to enable the sharing of information and research and ultimately developing the game of hockey.

Current members of the Athletes’ Committee who are also on the recently-announced candidate list include Beth Smith (NZL), Henri Lhomme (FRA), Liam de Young (AUS) and Scott Sandison (CAN).  

Click here to view the Athletes' Committee webpage