Melbourne, Jan 15 (IANS) Australia hockey national coach Graham Reid said national star Mark Knowles deserves the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Player of the Year for 2014 award that was given to him Thursday.
“Mark is thoroughly deserving of the recognition he has received. It was just 12 months ago that he took on the captaincy of the Kookaburras and he has not only thrived in the role but his performances on the field have been excellent,” Reid said in a Hockey Australia release.
“He has led by example through his strong and courageous play and set a great example for the rest of the team.”
Knowles previously won the FIH World Young Player of the Year award in 2007. The 30-year-old from Rockhampton, Queensland, topped the polling after leading the Kookaburras to dual gold medal success as Australia clinched the World Cup and Commonwealth Games titles within six weeks of one another.
“It’s not easy to move from a leadership group to the outright captaincy and it’s the way that he has handled that move and put in the performances he has that marks 2014 as an outstanding year for him,” the coach said.
Knowles adds the international player crown to the World Cup Player of the Tournament and Hockey Australia Player of the Year awards he won in 2014. In Glasgow in August, Knowles was Team Australia’s flag bearer at the closing ceremony after winning his third Commonwealth Games gold medal.