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Date: 2/23/2017

Every year, the International Handball Federation awards the players who stood out with impressive performances throughout the whole year, as well as the coaches who led their teams to glory.


A group of experts, consisting of IHF experts and the coaches of the best teams at the last IHF World Championships, has chosen five nominees in each category who they consider to be the best of the best in 2016. In the next round, it is up to the fans and media to choose their favourites.


As of today until 9 March 2017, handball fans and media all around the world can cast their vote for the IHF World Handball Players and Coaches of the Year 2016. Among the nominees, there are many familiar faces as four players and coaches each won the respective awards at least once which is proof of their excellent skills. However, the other nominees have impressed the experts with their performances and results just as well so that the decision is not that easy.


The nominees are:




Nikola Karabatic:

The 32-year-old centre back is one of the star players of the French team and has won the Player of the Year award twice already (in 2007 and 2014). With the French team Karabatic ranked fifth at the EHF EURO 2016 and claimed the silver medal at the 2016 Olympic Games, where he was also voted into the All-star Team. With Paris Saint-Germain, his current club, he won the French Championship, came in third at the EHF Champions League Final4 and finished second at the IHF Super Globe 2016. 


Mikkel Hansen:

2011 and 2015 Player of the Year Mikkel Hansen, can look back at a successful year 2016. After a rocky start, when the Danes lost their 5/6th placement match at the EHF EURO 2016 against France, the team around Hansen got their revenge at Rio 2016 where they beat France in the final to claim the gold medal. The 29-year-old left back was not only part of the Rio 2016 All-star team but was also voted Most Valuable Player of the tournament. With his PSG teammate Nikola Karabatic, he had many reasons to celebrate in addition to becoming top scorer in the EHF Champions League season 2015/2016.


Andreas Wolff:

Germany’s 25-year-old goalkeeper Andreas Wolff rose at the EHF EURO 2016 in Poland, where he was not only voted into the All-star team but could also claim the gold medal with Germany. The surprise victory qualified the ‘Bad Boys’ for the 2016 Olympics where they continued their successful year claiming the bronze medal. In 2016, Wolff joined German record champions THW Kiel.


Domagoj Duvnjak:

Croatia’s centre back Domagoj Duvnjak appears regularly among the Player of the Year nominees and even won the award in 2013. 2016 started off with Croatia winning the bronze medal at the EHF EURO. They qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, where the 28-year-old showed his skills coming in first in the assist’s ranking and sixth in the combination goals/assists.


Sander Sagosen:

21-year-old Sander Sagosen is probably one of Europe’s biggest handball talents at the moment. With Norway he achieved the best result of the men’s team at a European championship when they came in fourth in 2016. With his performance at the EHF EURO 2016, where he was also voted into the All-star Team, he made many clubs sit up and notice, amongst others Paris Saint-Germain Handball. He signed with the French powerhouse in 2016 and joins them the next season.




Nora Mork,

With the Norwegian team, the 25-year-old right back claimed not only bronze at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games but they defended their European championship title as well. At the Women’s EHF EURO 2016 in Sweden, Mork proved her qualities once again as she was top scorer of the tournament and voted into the All-star Team. 


Cristina Neagu

Even though Romania look back at a rather disappointing year after their Rio 2016 qualification, 2010 and 2015 Player of the Year Cristina Neagu still stands out. She ranked third in the top scorer lists of the Women’s EHF Champions League, the Women’s EHF EURO 2016 and the Olympic Games as well – even though Romania did not make it to the quarter-finals and she played only five matches. The 28-year-old left back was also voted into the All-star teams of the Women's EHF EURO and the Women’s EHF Champions League 2015/2016.


Nycke Groot

After their surprise runners-up position at the 2015 World Championship, the Dutch women started strong in 2016 qualifying for Rio unbeaten at their Olympic Qualification Tournament. At the Olympic Games they finished fourth and the team around Nycke Groot showed their strength again at the Women’s EHF EURO 2016, claiming the silver medal. The 28-year-old centre back was also part of the All-star team and was voted Most Valuable Player of the tournament. Alongside her teammates Mork and Kari Grimsbo, Groot could celebrate the title of Hungarian champions and a second place at the Women’s EHF Final4.


Isabelle Gullden

Swedish centre back Isabelle Gullden had a successful year 2016 with her club team CSM Bucuresti. She could not only celebrate the Romanian championship title but also winning the Women’s EHF Champions League Final4, a first in the history of the club. The 27-year-old was top scorer of the last Champions League season. With the national team she qualified for the 2016 Olympics.


Kari Grimsbo

32-year-old European champion Kari Grimsbo made it on the list of nominees for the Player of the Year 2016 as well. Norway’s goalkeeper did not only have a rather successful season 2015/2016 with Gyori ETO KC but could also celebrate the bronze medal with Norway at the Olympics, where she was also voted into the All-star Team, and defending the title at the EUHF EURO 2016 in Sweden.


COACH OF THE YEAR - Men’s team


Christian Berge

The coach of Norway’s men’s team made everybody sit up and take notice when they made it to the semi-finals of the EHF EURO 2016 in Poland and thus achieved the best result of a Norwegian men’s team at a European championship ever. Even though the men’s team did not succeed in qualifying for Rio, it became obvious at France 2017, where they finished second, that the 43-year-old had done an excellent job in 2016.


Didier Dinart

Even though Didier Dinart’s time to shine as head coach of the French men’s  team who won the 2017 World Championship on home ground, the 40-year-old took over the French team step by step in 2016 as assistant coach to Claude Onesta.  After ranking fifth at the EHF EURO they succeeded in qualifying for Rio 2016 where France claimed the silver medal.


Gudmundur Gudmundsson

After the Danish men finished their Olympic Qualification Tournament on first place, the team of Gudmundur Gudmundsson travelled to Rio where they succeeded in not only claiming a medal but beating world champions France in the final. Thus, the 56-year-old Icelander led the Danish men’s team to the first Olympic gold medal in history.


Dagur Sigurdsson

2015 IHF Coach of the Year Dagur Sigurdsson could not have had a better start in 2016. The German team, coached by the 43-year-old Icelander, surprisingly won the EHF EURO 2016 and directly qualified for the Olympic Games where they claimed the bronze medal. Thus, in 2016 it became obvious that under Sigurdsson the Germans made their comeback and can be counted among the world’s top teams once again.


Veselin Vujovic

Veselin Vujovic and Slovenia had a rather rocky start in 2016. But after a disappointing EHF EURO 2016 campaign, the 56-year-old Montenegrin started over anew and made some substantial changes leading to Slovenia’s qualification for the 2016 Olympics, where they finished sixth. His consistent work in 2016 bore fruits in the beginning of 2017 at the World Championship in France where Slovenia’s men’s team could claim their first medal, finishing third. With RK Zagreb, his club team, he won the Croatian Championship and was able to cause some upsets in the EHF Champions League.


COACH OF THE YEAR - Women’s team


Thorir Hergeirsson

Four-time IHF Coach of the Year Thorir Hergeirsson (2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015) made it on the list of nominees for the Coach of the Year award once again. After defending the world championship title in 2015, the next stop was Rio 2016 where hot favourites Norway claimed bronze. At the Women’s EHF EURO 2016 they showed their excellent qualities again and the 52-year-old Icelander could add another European Championship title to his long list of achievements after his team beat Netherlands in the final.


Olivier Krumbholz

In 2016, 58-year-old Frenchman Olivier Krumbholz took over the French women’s team who he led to the final of the 2016 Olympic Games to win silver. At the EHF EURO in December, France were thus among the medal favourites and did not disappoint, claiming the bronze medal. After mixed results in the past years, the Coach of the Year 2010 brought France back to the top. 


Evgeniy Trefilov

In 2016, Russia’s women’s team travelled to Rio 2016 after finishing first at the Olympic Qualification Tournament III. 61-year-old Evgeniy Trefilov, who was voted Coach of the Year in 2009, saw his team then play an excellent Olympic tournament claiming the gold medal – unbeaten.


Kim Rasmussen

44-year-old Dane Kim Rasmussen took over CSM Bucuresti in 2015 and it is mostly thanks to his work with the club team that he is among the nominees. The season 2015/2016 could not have been better for the team from Romania, who won the Romanian Cup, the national championship and on top of that, for the first time the Women’s EHF Champions League.


Henk Groener

The Dutch women started strong in 2016, after they surprisingly claimed the silver medal at the 2015 Women’s World Championship, one of the successes that put 56-year-old Henk Groener in the focus of attention already at the last Coach of the Year contest. Unbeaten at Olympic Qualification Tournament I, Netherlands travelled to Rio full of confidence where they eventually finished fourth, losing the match for third place against reigning world champions Norway.


If you want to cast your vote click on the respective category below and complete the form.


- Player of the Year 2016 – Fan voting

- Player of the Year 2016 – Media voting

- Coach of the Year 2016 – Fan voting

- Coach of the Year 2016 – Media voting


Follow the IHF social media channels at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube to know more about the nominees. 

    You must be logged in to add comments.
    Larisa Kukic 25 February 2017

    Domagoj Duvnjak

    Domagoj Duvnjak

    Aleksander Wielki 25 February 2017

    Player of the year 2016

    It's just joke to vote without Karol Bielecki. And the nomination for Sagosen ...? Because he was so good in ... France 2017 ?? What have it to do with the best player of year 2016 ??