England Captain is GB Athlete of the Year

England captain Barry Middleton has been named by Great Britain Hockey as its BOA Athlete of the Year 2009.

The award is presented to the British athlete deemed to have been the top performing athlete of the year and is selected by Great Britain Hockey on behalf of the British Olympic Association.

Barry MiddletonSpeaking after being told of the award, Doncaster-born Middleton said:  “I’m obviously very pleased to have won it but also very surprised.  It’s certainly not something I expected and to be honest, I think there are a number of people in the squad that have performed excellently this year and could have won it.”

It was his performances at the 2009 EuroHockey Nations Championships (the European Cup) in particular that earned Middleton the Athlete of the Year award and Great Britain Hockey Performance Director David Faulkner expressed his congratulations, saying: “I am personally delighted that Barry has been recognised not just for his outstanding performances on the pitch but for also for the way in which he lead the England team to the their first ever win at the European Cup in Amsterdam earlier this year”

Barry Middleton celebrates with Simon Mantell after scoring for England against Germany at the 2009 Men's EuroHockey Nations Championships in Amstelveen, 24 August 2009Despite being just 25 years old, Middleton, who was also Great Britain vice captain at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, is one of the veterans of the team having played in two Olympic Games, one World Cup, four European Cups and one Commonwealth Games. 

He made his senior international debut against Belgium in April 2003 and has since gone on to win 74 caps for Great Britain and 118 for England.  His total of 26 goals for Great Britain is unrivalled in the current squad and he has a further 30 to his name for England, five of which came during the successful EuroHockey Nations Championships campaign this summer, including one in the final against the reigning World and Olympic champions Germany.

A Sports Science graduate from Loughborough University, the former Doncaster and Cannock player now plays his club hockey with HGC in the Netherlands and is currently in Melbourne with the England squad as they prepare for the ABN AMRO Men’s Champions Trophy, which gets underway on 28 November.

Barry Middleton’s Profile
Date of birth: 12 January 1984
Shirt number: 18
Caps (goals): Great Britain 74 (26); England 118 (30)
Position: Midfield/forward
Current club: HGC (The Hague, Netherlands)
Former clubs: Cannock, Doncaster
School: Hall Cross, Doncaster
Senior international debut: 7 April 2003
No. of medals: 1 European Gold, 1 European Bronze
No of tournaments: 2 Olympic Games, 1 World Cup, 1 Champions Trophy, 3 Champions Challenge, 1 Commonwealth Games, 4 Europeans
Ambition: To win an Olympic Gold medal
Most memorable achievement: Winning Gold at the Europeans in 2009
Motto: "If you're not first, you're last!"

The Athlete of the Year award was established in 2006 after the British Olympic Association (BOA) gifted a trophy to each of the 35 Olympic sports’ governing bodies to mark the centenary of the BOA and to celebrate the awarding of the 2012 Olympic Games to London.  Each governing body awards their trophy to the top performing athlete in their sport each year.

Crista Cullen was the first recipient of GB Hockey’s Athlete of the Year award in 2006 with Kate Walsh the 2007 winner.  Following his performances at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, goalkeeper Alistair McGregor was the 2008 winner.