2023 IHF Young Male World Player of the Year nominees revealed

26 Feb. 2024

2023 IHF Young Male World Player of the Year nominees revealed

The coveted IHF World Player of the Year award has undergone a swift makeover, as the International Handball Federation (IHF) have decided to refresh the yearly award reserved for the best players in world handball.

2023 marks the introduction of the IHF Young Male Player of the Year and the IHF Young Female Player of the Year, which underline the penchant for identifying and nurturing new talents. 

The fans have a say in the final standings of the IHF World Player of the Year awards, but the new formula sees an equal percentage of the final decision between three categories, for a better representation and a level-playing field for all the nominees. 

The fans will still have the power, as the votes casted will represent a third of the final standings. Another third will be reserved to the coaches who led their national teams at the IHF Men’s World Championship and the IHF Women’s World Championship. The IHF Commission of Coaching and Methods (CCM) will have the final third of the decision, with the awards being sealed by the player that has the best percentage throughout the three categories.

For all categories, three players have been shortlisted by the IHF Commission of Coaching and Methods (CCM), based on their performances in 2023, having impressed throughout the last year on the courts. The nominated players will be presented on a category-by-category basis over the next days.

For the 2023 IHF Young Male World Player of the Year, the nominees are Germany’s backs Juri Knorr and Nils Lichtlein and Faroe Islands’ centre back Elias Ellefsen á Skipagøtu.

Juri Knorr (Germany)

Knorr really took it up a notch in 2023, displaying some excellent handball, especially at his second appearance at the IHF Men’s World Championship. With 53 goals for Germany, he was instrumental in helping his side secure the fifth place at Poland/Sweden 2023, as Knorr became a dual-threat player, both with powerful shots, as well with exquisite assists.

His performances did not go unnoticed, as he was also selected as the Best Young Player in the All-Star team for the 2023 IHF Men’s World Championship, with a stellar 2023 for Knorr, who is shaping up to be a key player and a lynchpin for both his national team and his club side, Rhein-Neckar Löwen.

Nils Lichtlein (Germany)

Germany men’s junior national team was nothing short of flawless in 2023, as they finished the year unbeaten and delivered a magnificent performance on their home court at the 2023 IHF Men’s Junior World Championship, winning the title without dropping a single match. 

Their performances have been highlighted by the MVP of the world handball flagship competition, left-handed centre back Nils Lichtlein, who was instrumental to the team’s win. Not only Lichtlein shined on the big stage here, he also became a crucial player for his club team, Füchse Berlin, on their return to the IHF Men’s Super Globe, where they finished second, behind winners SC Magdeburg.

Elias Ellefsen á Skipagøtu (Faroe Islands)

The Faroe Islands were the big surprise of the 2023 IHF Men’s Junior World Championship, finishing on the seventh place in their maiden appearance in the world handball flagship competition. Beating Spain was a huge achievement, as well as delivering a win against Croatia, which meant that this generation fulfilled their potential.

No player shined brighter than Elias Ellefsen á Skipagøtu, who scored 70 goals and dished 48 assists, finishing first in both categories. The current centre back of German powerhouse THW Kiel also secured his spot as the best player on his position and an inclusion in the All-Star team of the 2023 IHF Men’s Junior World Championship.

The voting will be open for the fans from Monday, 26 February, from 16:00 CET, to Monday, 11 March, at 23:59 CET, therefore two full weeks for the fans to vote for their favourites and help them win the prestigious award. 

All the votes will be casted on the IHF official website, with voting cards readily available after all the nominees for all the categories have been presented. After Monday, 11 March, at 23:59 CET, no votes will be available to be cast.

Voters are reminded that performance in 2023 should be the sole consideration, and that competitions or matches played in the early stages of 2024 do not form part of the decision for the 2023 awards.