Saturday, September 15, 2012

Pol Amat ends Pablo-us career

Pol Amat, one of the finest strikers the world has ever seen, has announced his retirement from international hockey.
   "The Olympic cycle is over and I think now is the right time to quit,” said Amat, 34. “I do not have enough strength to continue to be involved in the selection. I have had many years in hockey and in the Spanish team, and it is now time to stop combining hockey, work and family. That stage of my life is over”.
    Pablo “Pol” Amat Escude has had a truly sparkling career, making his debut in 1995 at the tender age of 17. Between 1995 and 2012, he represented his country no less that 304 appearances, and participated at five Olympic Games, claiming Silver medals at the Atlanta 1996 and Beijing 2008 Games. Amat also featured in four World Cups, six European Championships as well as nine Champions Trophy tournaments, and was named FIH Player of the Year in 2008, the most prestigious playing award that hockey has to offer.
     There are many reasons why Pol Amat will go down in history as one of hockey’s all time greats. His electric place, breathtaking skills and incomparable goal scoring ability made him one of the world’s most feared attackers for well over a decade, being the focal point of what was considered the most potent strike force in world hockey alongside Santi Freixa and Edi Tubau. He was once described as “the Ronaldinho of hockey” by Maurits Hendriks, the Dutchman who worked closely with Amat during his tenure as Spain’s Head Coach between 2002 and 2008.
     Under the guidance of Hendricks, Amat won his first major international title at the 2004 Champions Trophy in Lahore, and one year later produced a sensational individual performance in the final of the 2005 EuroHockey Nations Championship, netting a late double to rip the title away from The Netherlands in the most dramatic of circumstances.  
Although Amat has decided to step away from international hockey, he will continue to play in Spain’s Division of Honour for Club Egara (Terrassa), the team where he started his career. “I have the strength to win and keep playing”, continued Amat.  “I have been guided by the heart and not the head … I want to enjoy every moment."
    The FIH would like to thank Pol Amat for his contribution to the game and wishes him all the best in the future.

Pol Amat’s International Medal Record

Olympic Games
Silver – Atlanta 1996
Silver – Beijing 2008
World Cup
Silver – Utrecht 1998
Bronze – Monchengladbach 2008

EuroHockey Championships
Gold – Leipzig 2005
Silver – Manchester 2007

Champions Trophy

Gold – Lahore 2004
Silver – Rotterdam 2008
Bronze – Chennai 2005
Bronze – Terrassa 2006

Champions Challenge

Gold – Johannesburg 2003