German hockey fans have voted Louisa Walter and Bjorn Emmerling as their players of the year after the pair helped Germany to Olympic gold and bronze medals at the Athens Oolympic Games.
Walter was selected among the 16 Olympic gold medallists as the player of the year. In a tight vote, the 26-year-old edged Anke Kuhn for the award by less than two percent of the vote, with 2003 winner Fanny Rinne in third place. It’s was first time in the nine-year history of the awards that a goalkeeper has taken the top prize.
Walter starred at the Athens Olympic Games, making crucial saves in the penalty stroke play off against China in the semi final before denying the Netherlands for almost the entire Olympic final as Germany snatched an unlikely gold medal.
The German women have been feted at home and in Europe since the Games, with their selection by German sport journalists as the team of the year, preceded by Anke Kühn's European Sport Star of the Year Award in Lausanne.
Emmerling’s victory as German men’s player of the year was clear cut, with the 29-year-old receiving more than 35 percent of the vote ahead of Christopher Zeller and Clemens Arnold.
The German men entered the Athens Olympic Games ranked number one on the world but after a tight semi final loss, the world champions were relegated to the bronze medal match against Spain.
After an enthralling contest, Germany finally prevailed after Bjorn Michel's goal in the 10th minute of extra time.
Fans also selected Rüsselsheimer RK (women) as team of the year.
Germany Women Player of the Year
1. Louisa Walter (Berliner HC)
2. Anke Kühn (Eintracht Braunschweig)
3. Fanny Rinne (TSV Mannheim)
Germany Men Player of the Year
1. Björn Emmerling (Stuttgarter Kickers)
2. Christopher Zeller (Münchner SC)
3. Clemens Arnold (Harvestehuder THC)
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