It is a case of deja vu for both of this year’s FIH Rising Star of the Year recipients as they picked up the award for the second year running.
Argentina’s Maria Jose Granatto and Belgium’s Arthur van Doren picked up the same award in 2016 after they burst onto the international scene for their respective teams. That they have won the awards again shows the two young players have continued to strive for excellence and have caught the eye of not just their playing peers but hockey fans around the world.
"Without the team nothing would be possible. They make me enjoy the game and because of that I can play with confidence.”
Arthur Van Doren, Belgium, Hockey Stars Player and Rising Star of the Year 2017
Maria Jose Granatto is firmly placed as one of the stars of Argentina's Las Leonas and, for a player with a nation’s hockey hopes pinned firmly on her shoulders, she is wearing the mantle of stardom with ease.
When Granatto gets on the ball, there is always a sense of expectation from the spectators as the young forward jinks and twists her way through the defence. She is often the catalyst and creator of any Argentinian attack and her bustling style makes her the perfect player to complement the style and elegance of Argentina’s captain Delfina Merino.
While Granatto is busy creating, the Male Rising Star of the Year is holding things steady at the opposite end of the pitch. Belgium's Arthur Van Doren is a rock-steady defender whose ability to read the game is worthy of a player of many more year’s experience.
Van Doren is a class act who makes defensive positioning look easy. He regularly picks up accolades as player of the match, which as a defender is not always the case.
The Belgium player has been at the heart of his nation’s resurgence in recent years and, while the Red Lion might protest that he did not expect to win the award, his legions of fans definitely thought he should.
Both Granatto and Van Doren were generous in their praise of their teammates. “I want to emphasise the fact that without the team nothing would be possible, they make me enjoy the game and because of that I can play with confidence.” Van Doren added: “Credit to all my team mates, without them nothing would have been possible.”