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02.03.2012, 10:10
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Mikkel Hansen and Heidi Löke World Handball Players of the Year
 

Mikkel Hansen and Heidi Löke World Handball Players of the Year

The male and female World Handball Players of the Year 2011 are both from Scandinavia. Pivot Heidi Løke is the third Norwegian in five years (and the fifth in total) to be awarded with this title, whilst left back Mikkel Hansen is the first ever Dane to be honoured with this award, which started back in 1988 and was a result of a vote from handball fans, media and expert group voting.

Løke, who plays for the EHF Champions League side Audi ETO Györ from Hungary, received 28% of all votes ahead of Allison Pineau (France, 22%), who won the title in 2009. Norwegian Katrine Lunde Haraldsen (20%), Serbian Andrea Lekic (18%) and Andrea Penezic (Croatia, 12 %) made up the top five.

In the men’s vote the winning margin of Hansen, who plays for VELUX EHF Champions League side AG Kobenhavn in Denmark, was more emphatic, as ‘The Hammer’ received 31% of votes, 10% ahead of second-place and 2010 winner, Filip Jicha (Czech Republic, 21%). The top five were then completed by the French trio Nikola Karabatic (19%), Luc Abalo (19%) and Thierry Omeyer (10%).

World-Handball-Players-of-the-Year-2011-460

Both World Handball Players of the Year 2011 have left their footprints in the previous years in all EHF and IHF competitions.

29-year-old Löke won all possible titles she played in 2011. In May she won the EHF Champions League with her former club Larvik HK and became top scorer of this competition. In addition to this she became Norwegian cup winner, Norwegian champion and top scorer of the Norwegian league for the third straight time.

The pivot, who has a young daughter, then transferred to Hungarian club Audi ETO Györ and in south America last December Løke was the major key of the Norwegian national team who became World Champion in Brazil for the second time in history and Löke was awarded Best Line Player in the All-Star Team, a year after becoming All-Star Team pivot at the EHF EURO in Norway and Denmark, when Norway won their fourth straight European title – the second for Løke. After Gro Hammerseng in 2008 and Linn-Kristin Riegelhuth in 2009 Løke continues the series of Norwegian female World Handball Players of the Year.

Mikkel Hansen the Danish 24-year-old left back, made his mark on the last major men’s tournaments, given his hammer shots and the huge number of goals. At the age of 19, and after becoming Danish champion with GOG Svendborg young Mikkel transferred to FC Barcelona – but after only two years and making the final at the VELUX EHF Champions League he returned to his home country to new side AG Kobenhavn (AGK).

In his first season in Copenhagen, Hansen has become the figurehead of the team, finishing as top scorer at AGK, winning the Danish championship and the 2011 Danish Cup. But his biggest success was at the 2011 World Championship in Sweden, where he led the Danes to their first World Championship final since 1967.

Despite losing to France in this final Hansen wrote history as he finished as top scorer with 68 goals and a member of the All-Star Team.

In January 2012 Mikkel Hansen was the key for the second Danish EHF European title at the 2012 EHF EURO in Serbia – scoring nine goals in the final against the hosts and making the All-Star Team.


TEXT: Björn Pazen
 
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