30.08.2015: Spanish winger Pol Amat and Irish legend Nikki Symmons have become the latest additions to the European Hockey Federation Hall of Fame following their immaculate careers.
Amat was one of the leading lights of a golden generation of Spanish players, amassing 304 caps and scoring 150 goals. In his glittering career, he played in an incredible five Olympic Games, winning silver in both Atlanta and Beijing, along with nine European Championships with gold arriving in 2005 in Leipzig.
Paying tribute to Amat, Great Britain and England goalkeeper Simon Mason said: “When Pol played well, Spain played well. He had incredible hand-eye co-ordination and when he carried the ball one-handed outside his left, he was virtually impossible to tackle.”
Symmons, meanwhile, is honoured as a record-breaker in Irish hockey, becoming the first player to pass the 200-cap mark and an inspiration for the sport in her country.
Reflecting on an international career that spanned 13 years and 208 caps – including six European championships – the Dubliner said: “Every time I put on the Irish shirt gave me great memories, not always good, but the bad also served as good memories to make me who I am today.”
“I guess I gave my life to hockey for the love of the sport. There were many sacrifices I had to make and I think I inspired people by the way I went about giving it all I had on the pitch, especially near the end of my career. I was always striving to be the best I could be and to be a role model.”
And the 33-year-old is continuing to help inspire new hockey fans through her work with the FIH as a digital co-ordinator, promoting the sport to a whole new generation.
They join inaugural entrants Santi Freixa, Teun de Nooijer and Natascha Keller in the Hall of Fame who were named on the honour’s list in 2013 in Boom.
Click here for more information on EHF Hall of Fame
Photograph: Marijke Fleuren with Santi Freixa , Pol Amat, Nikki Symmons and Teun de Nooijer (Frank Uijlenbroek (c))