Report and Photographs from John Coxon
It was announced this weekend that long time stalwart of the Dutch National Hockey team, Fatima Moreira de Melo is to retire both from the International hockey scene and also her local club. According to Sascha Tamarinof , independent author of the foremost hockey website in Holland , Hoofdklasse ,
" Fatima is going to be a great loss to the hockey community" and is "a little bit tired and she is not able to charge the batteries for playing first class hockey any more ." Sascha goes on to describe Fatima as a sociable and totally unselfish person / player, who was never impressed or deceived by the intense media attention she attracted."
Fatima played professionally for Rotterdam HC and made more than 200 appearances for the Dutch National side . She was part of the Dutch team that became World Champion at the 2006 Samsung Women's Hockey World Cup, won the 2007 Champions Trophy and gold in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Some commentators have summed Fatima's career up in terms of the team workhorse, one of those key players who grafted for the team and actually on the pitch rarely stood out, but the team always performed at their best when she was on the squad.
Besides playing field hockey Fatima also studied law and has presented programs for both local and national TV stations. She also developed a career as a fashion model and a singer. Her father is a Portuguese diplomat for Holland. She obtained a Masters Degree in Law in 2006. She became the new face of major hockey sponsors Rabobank in their Dutch TV –advertisements and has designed sportswear and hockey shoes for Le Coq Sportif. Fatima, a selfless, grounded individual was a always at ease in front of the media, intensely likable , always happy to sign an autograph and chat to young fans after a game and a great ambassador for the game.
photos Janos Schmidt