IHF nominates players and coaches
Written by: Rasmus Boysen
The International Handball Federation has nominated 5 players for the "Player of the year 2016" and 5 coaches for the "Coach of the year 2016".
Press release from IHF:
Every year, the International Handball Federation awards the players who stood out with impressive performances throughout the whole year, as well as the coaches who led their teams to glory.
A group of experts, consisting of IHF experts and the coaches of the best teams at the last IHF World Championships, has chosen five nominees in each category who they consider to be the best of the best in 2016. In the next round, it is up to the fans and media to choose their favourites.
As of today until 9 March 2017, handball fans and media all around the world can cast their vote for the IHF World Handball Players and Coaches of the Year 2016. Among the nominees, there are many familiar faces as four players and coaches each won the respective awards at least once which is proof of their excellent skills. However, the other nominees have impressed the experts with their performances and results just as well so that the decision is not that easy.
The nominees are:
PLAYERS OF THE YEAR 2016
The 32-year-old centre back is one of the star players of the French team and has won the Player of the Year award twice already (in 2007 and 2014). With the French team Karabatic ranked fifth at the EHF EURO 2016 and claimed the silver medal at the 2016 Olympic Games, where he was also voted into the All-star Team. With Paris Saint-Germain, his current club, he won the French Championship, came in third at the EHF Champions League Final4 and finished second at the IHF Super Globe 2016.
2011 and 2015 Player of the Year Mikkel Hansen, can look back at a successful year 2016. After a rocky start, when the Danes lost their 5/6th placement match at the EHF EURO 2016 against France, the team around Hansen got their revenge at Rio 2016 where they beat France in the final to claim the gold medal. The 29-year-old left back was not only part of the Rio 2016 All-star team but was also voted Most Valuable Player of the tournament. With his PSG teammate Nikola Karabatic, he had many reasons to celebrate in addition to becoming top scorer in the EHF Champions League season 2015/2016.
Germany’s 25-year-old goalkeeper Andreas Wolff rose at the EHF EURO 2016 in Poland, where he was not only voted into the All-star team but could also claim the gold medal with Germany. The surprise victory qualified the ‘Bad Boys’ for the 2016 Olympics where they continued their successful year claiming the bronze medal. In 2016, Wolff joined German record champions THW Kiel.
Croatia’s centre back Domagoj Duvnjak appears regularly among the Player of the Year nominees and even won the award in 2013. 2016 started off with Croatia winning the bronze medal at the EHF EURO. They qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, where the 28-year-old showed his skills coming in first in the assist’s ranking and sixth in the combination goals/assists.
21-year-old Sander Sagosen is probably one of Europe’s biggest handball talents at the moment. With Norway he achieved the best result of the men’s team at a European championship when they came in fourth in 2016. With his performance at the EHF EURO 2016, where he was also voted into the All-star Team, he made many clubs sit up and notice, amongst others Paris Saint-Germain Handball. He signed with the French powerhouse in 2016 and joins them the next season.
COACH OF THE YEAR 2016:
The coach of Norway’s men’s team made everybody sit up and take notice when they made it to the semi-finals of the EHF EURO 2016 in Poland and thus achieved the best result of a Norwegian men’s team at a European championship ever. Even though the men’s team did not succeed in qualifying for Rio, it became obvious at France 2017, where they finished second, that the 43-year-old had done an excellent job in 2016.
Even though Didier Dinart’s time to shine as head coach of the French men’s team who won the 2017 World Championship on home ground, the 40-year-old took over the French team step by step in 2016 as assistant coach to Claude Onesta. After ranking fifth at the EHF EURO they succeeded in qualifying for Rio 2016 where France claimed the silver medal.
After the Danish men finished their Olympic Qualification Tournament on first place, the team of Gudmundur Gudmundsson travelled to Rio where they succeeded in not only claiming a medal but beating world champions France in the final. Thus, the 56-year-old Icelander led the Danish men’s team to the first Olympic gold medal in history.
2015 IHF Coach of the Year Dagur Sigurdsson could not have had a better start in 2016. The German team, coached by the 43-year-old Icelander, surprisingly won the EHF EURO 2016 and directly qualified for the Olympic Games where they claimed the bronze medal. Thus, in 2016 it became obvious that under Sigurdsson the Germans made their comeback and can be counted among the world’s top teams once again.
Veselin Vujovic and Slovenia had a rather rocky start in 2016. But after a disappointing EHF EURO 2016 campaign, the 56-year-old Montenegrin started over anew and made some substantial changes leading to Slovenia’s qualification for the 2016 Olympics, where they finished sixth. His consistent work in 2016 bore fruits in the beginning of 2017 at the World Championship in France where Slovenia’s men’s team could claim their first medal, finishing third. With RK Zagreb, his club team, he won the Croatian Championship and was able to cause some upsets in the EHF Champions League.