Rhett Halkett and Celia Evans have been named the country’s best men’s and women’s hockey players for 2016.
The duo were among the award winners announced on Tuesday by SA Hockey in Johannesburg.
Halkett and Evans emerged as the standout players during the annual Cape Town Private Property Summer Series from January to March 2016, as well as the men’s series against Spain, Belgium, Canada and Germany and the women’s against India, Germany and Scotland.
‘It’s a huge honour to receive this award,’ said Halkett. ‘Thank you to the players who have been instrumental in providing a platform for personal growth and performance. It is, and always will be, a privilege to represent South Africa in this sport we love. Congratulations to all the award winners,’ he added.
Evans said: ‘This award is a symbol of hard work, dedication and commitment. I definitely don’t think I’m the only player who is committed to the process, but it is a true honour to receive this award.
‘Being part of the national team means more than just receiving a test cap, more than just being a “good” hockey player, more than having fans or Instagram followers. I’m not about that. It means that every day I am committed to being better,’ she added.
Recently retired international umpire John Wright was named the joint winner of the Malik Umpire of the Year award with Michelle Joubert. Both did the country proud in umpiring the respective men’s and women’s finals at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro last year.
Wright was also handed the President’s award in recognition for the role he played in steering the ship with regards to umpiring in South Africa.
‘I’m humbled by all the support and acknowledgement us as officials have received,’ said Joubert. ‘I never imagined that I would be appointed to any final, let alone an Olympic final, and to make it even more special, was to have John appointed to the men’s final. It can sometimes be tough out there, but knowing that somewhere I may have inspired someone else to pick up a whistle, means more than any award to me.
‘Thank you to SAHA for this award and acknowledging our efforts as officials and congratulations to John also for sharing it with me.’
Sheila Brown received the Paul Richards Technical Official of the Year award for the role she played as tournament director at the Rio Olympics.
Meanwhile, Lindsey Wright was handed the Steve and Linda Jaspan Trophy for Coach of the Year for leading her Northern Blues team to the 2016 IPT title and claiming the inaugural women’s Premier Hockey League title with the Blyde River Bunters.
CEO of SA Hockey Marissa Langeni congratulated all the award winners, saying: ‘The awards represent the celebration of our players, coaches and technical officials who continually keep the SA Hockey brand alive.
‘They have represented the country on the biggest possible stages and done us proud and our congratulations go out to all the winners. Our sincere thanks also go to our sponsors – Private Property, Tsogo Sun, Grays, Old Mutual iWYZE, BrandSA, Crossroads, CTM, SuperSport and Sport and Recreation SA – for supporting the #sahockeyrevolution.’
In the picture are:
Back row (from left): Peter Wright (Award for services to umpiring), John Wright (Umpire of the Year and President’s award winner), Sheila Brown (Technical Official of the Year), Mike du Plessis (President of SA Hockey), Lindsey Wright (Coach of the Year), Lwandile Simelane (Vice President of SA Hockey)
Front row (from left): Hannah Pearce (U18 Player of the Year), Celia Evans (Senior Women’s Player of the Year), Marizen Marais (U21 Player of the Year)
SA Hockey awards 2016
President’s Award: John Wright
John Marquard Senior Men’s Player of the Year: Rhett Halkett
Ros Howell Snr Women’s Player of the Year: Celia Evans
Lennie Botha U21 Men’s Player of the Year: Alex Stewart
Sheila Brown U21 Women’s Player of the Year: Marizen Marais
Peter Vieyra U18 Boys Player of the Year: Andrew Hobson
Dave Carr U18 Girls Player of the Year: Hannah Pearce
Malik Umpire of the Year: John Wright and Michelle Joubert
Stuart McIldowie Award for service to umpiring: Peter Wright
Paul Richards Technical Official of the year: Sheila Brown
Steve and Linda Jaspan Trophy for Coach of the Year: Lindsey Wright