Leisa King and Robert Todd, two players who have had their disappointments in the sport, were yesterday honoured by the Hockey Writers Club when they were voted as the players of the year for 2002. They were presented with their awards by David Balbirnie, general secretary of the European Hockey Federation, at Peterborough's Great Northern Hotel.
King, the 30-year-old Ipswich captain who won the first of her 69 England caps against South Korea in 1997, had to wait until the arrival of Tricia Heberle as coach a couple of years ago before she was able to cement her place in the England squad, which finished with a high-class performance at the World Cup in Perth, Australia, last December. Speaking of Heberle's contribution, she said: "She really kept faith with me over the past two years and all the moments of doubt I have had in the past were brushed aside.''
Todd, another who missed out on Sydney, is set on achieving his Olympic dream in Athens. The 27-year-old investment banker made his international debut against Japan in 1999 and then had to wait nearly two years before receiving a second call to further his international career. The fast, hard-tackling defender has also become a key factor in Reading's outstanding runs at domestic and European level.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies