Champion eyes off Olympic Games
AFTER joining a prestigious list of Australians to be named world junior hockey player of the year, Mackay's Matthew Swann is now eyeing another target - the Olympics.
The Kookaburras' squad for the 2012 London Olympics will be announced tomorrow and selection appears a foregone conclusion for Swann, 22, who on the weekend helped Australia to a record fourth consecutive Champions Trophy title in New Zealand, when they beat Spain 1-0.
It was the third consecutive Champions Trophy for Swann, who has made an impressive rise through the ranks since debuting in late 2009.
He was a unique selection for the Kookaburras 2009 Champions Trophy squad, with less than 10 games to his name at the time.
However he has repaid the faith shown in him by coach Ric Charlesworth and has been a real key in the Kookaburras defence, playing in all major title wins since the 2009 event (2010 World Cup, 2010 Champions Trophy and 2010 Commonwealth Games).
Other Australians to win the World Junior Player of the Year award include current teammates Jamie Dwyer (2002), Mark Knowles (2007) and Eddie Ockeden (2008).
Swann said he was shocked to win the award.
"I didn't expect to get nominated in the first place so to win it is a great feeling," he said.
Kookaburras champion Jamie Dwyer has further confirmed himself as one of the world's greatest ever hockey players and one of Australia's top athletes, once again named FIH World Hockey Player of the Year.
It was Dwyer's fifth World Player of the Year title (2004, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011) and his third in three years.
Dwyer's award comes despite a difficult 2011, when he was sidelined for several months with a serious knee injury which required surgery in April.