A closer look at six of the 21 candidates that are up for nomination for the FIH Athletes’ Committee elections
In early April the FIH announced the candidates for the first-ever FIH Athletes’ Committee elections set to take place during this year’s Rabobank Hockey World Cup in the Hague, Netherlands. Over five days, athletes will have the opportunity to elect two women and two men, making of four of the total eight seats, of the FIH Athlete’s Committee. The remaining four seats will be appointed by the FIH Executive Board in March 2015.
The 21 candidates include six women who represent all five continents and they are Marsha Cox (RSA), Rachel Dawson (USA), Sanaz Heidari (IRI), Anne Panter (ENG), Beth Smith (NZL) and Yimeng Zhang (CHN). The successful candidates will be announced on 12 June.
Nomination itself is an honour as this week we take a closer look at these impressive hockey women, who not only impress and lead on the pitch but are highly active and engaged outside of game time.
Female Candidates Click here to view the Athletes’ Committee webpage
Marsha Cox | Twitter: @marcham8 Instagram: @marcham8
Country: South Africa
With over 330 international caps in her back pocket, Marsha Cox (nee Marescia), is the highest capped athlete in South Africa across all sports codes. The central midfielder and long-time team captain has been named South Africa Hockey Association Player of the Year on four accounts and was honoured as an FIH All-Star in 2007, 2009 and 2010. Marsha was also a four-year member of the SASCOC Athletes Commission and is currently based in Holland, playing for Rotterdam Hockey Club. Marsha is a two-time Olympian and is set to appear in her third World Cup.
Rachel Dawson (USA)
Rachel Dawson | Twitter : @racheldawson8 Instagram : @racheldawson8
Country: United States of America
In 2006 Rachel Dawson was a nominee for Young Player of the Year and since then the American defender has never looked back. With over 220 international caps and two Olympic appearances, Rachel has been a force to be reckoned with. The penalty corner specialist is also well-known for her clever writing skills appearing regularly in online blogs for American Hockey and athletic publications such as espnW and FH Life. Dawson was pivotal in the start-up of the first Post-Collegiate Field Hockey Tournament in the USA, the Harrow Cup, and was a participant in Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign hosted at the White House in 2013. Despite her spare time being scarce, Rachel also has found time to coach in a variety of youth and University programs.
Country : Iran
Sanaz Heidari has an opportunity to become the first candidate representing Iran on the FIH Athlete’s Committee. Sanaz has primarily spent her years competing in indoor hockey and has competed for Iran the past four years. The defender helped Iran to a 3rd place finish in the 2nd Asian Indoor Cup and a 4th place finish in the 3rd Asian Indoor Cup. Sanaz holds a Masters degree in English from Azad University in Kerman, Tehran and is currently working as a teacher at an English institute.
Anne Panter | Twitter: @anniepanter Facebook: AnnepanterFBHockey
After retiring in early 2014, Anne Panter amassed 108 caps for GB with her most recent achievement being the bronze-medal win at the 2012 London Olympics. First debuting on the international stage at the age of 18, Anne was integral part of the national side for a decade, winning two European Championship bronze medals and a silver at the 2012 Champions Trophy. Anne currently holds a Bachelors of Science in Math and Economics from the University of Nottingham and works as a trader with Goldman Sachs.
Beth Smith | Twitter: @beth_smith15
Country: New Zealand
After seven years back-stopping the New Zealand Blacksticks, goalkeeper Beth Smith is one of the most decorated female candidates on the list. Beth retired in 2010 from the international stage after appearing in back-to-back Olympic games in Athens and Beijing, as well as two Commonwealth Games, three Champions Trophy’s and the World Cup in 2010. With Beth in goal, New Zealand earned a silver medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, which brought her closer to her finale of 105 international caps. On the side, Beth was a part of a number of important programs including the New Zealand Hockey Players Association, the Konica Minolta MVP Programme, Outward Bound and the Sport Wellington Student Ambassador program. Beth is even more impressive in she practised as a barrister and solicitor in New Zealand. Beth currently resides in Dublin and recently celebrated becoming a mom in March 2014.
With 160 international appearances under her belt, Yimeng Zhang is one of the most decorated goalkeepers for China’s hockey team. With a career spanning 2003-2013, Yimeng has competed in three Olympic Games and three Champions Trophy events, with China’s best finish being a silver at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. In 2009, Yimeng was named the Best Goalkeeper at the Asia Cup and has been a part of her team’s top-3 finish in three China National Games. Yimeng currently holds a Master’s degree, which she earned at Chengdu Institute of Sport in Chengdu, China.
Photograph: Anne Panther, England (GB Hockey (c))
About the FIH Athletes’ Committee
Each National Association was given the opportunity to nominate one past or present athlete who, if elected, would meet the goals of the committee. The committee is set to represent the views of the athletes within the FIH, protect their interests and uphold their rights and obligations. The group will also serve as a link between the active athletes and the FIH, as well as to help raise awareness and educate athletes on topics of direct concern.
The members of the Athletes’ Committee will serve as a consultative body and will make recommendations to the FIH Executive Board, FIH Committees, Advisory Panels and other bodies. Their roles will also cover seeking and providing feedback to the FIH on behalf of all athletes, whilst developing and promoting resources and initiatives to athletes such as health and welfare, anti-doping, social media, our need to create stars to attract new fans, career preparation and management. The Committee will also play a central role in liaising with the Athletes’ Commission of the IOC and other sporting organisations to enable the sharing of information and research and ultimately developing the game of hockey.
Current members of the Athletes’ Committee who are also on the recently-announced candidate list include Beth Smith (NZL), Henri Lhomme (FRA), Liam de Young (AUS) and Scott Sandison (CAN).