Alexandra do Nascimento, 2012 IHF Best Player in the World
Normally, Brazil is accustomed to having its male soccer stars honored with world soccer player of the year honors with players like Ronaldo (three times), Ronaldinho (twice), Kaká, Rivaldo, and Romário all having won the soccer world’s most prestigious individual honor since 1994. Now, Brazil honors another of its own, this time a female and in another sport: handball.
On Tuesday the International Handball Federation elected Brazilian Alexandra do Nascimento, 31, the best player in the world. The athlete, who we featured on our line-up of Afro-Brazilian 2012 Olympic athletes back in August, defended Brazil’s national team last year in London, was chosen by fans, media and members of the entity.
It’s the first time a player from Brazil was elected by the association as the best in the world. Alexandra, who has participated in three Olympics (Athens, Beijing and London), was chosen for the Brazilian national team of the 2012 Games, has played in Austria for more than eight years and currently plays for Hypo Niederosterreich.
The player was star of Brazil’s London team that advanced to the quarter finals before being eliminated by Norway. The right-winger finished as the fourth leading scorer in the Olympics, with 37 goals with a mark of 67% in shots on goal, the best of the competition. Alexandra won gold with the Brazilian national team in both the 2007 and 2011 Pan-American Games.
Congratulations Alexandra! Elected the Best Player in the world in 2012
“Today I received the best news of my life. We are not the country of handball, but we are able to evolve more and more. I have learned from the best here in Europe,” said Alexandra, in an interview with Sports Radio Bradesco.
The 5’11”, 145-pound Alexandra was elected with 28% of the vote and will receive the award at an event on January 27th in Barcelona, Spain. The athlete will also receive a prize of 10,000 euros (about R$27,000 Brazilian reais or US$13,500 dollars).
“We started training at the club this morning and suddenly the coach stopped and brought us all together in the middle of the court. With a serious face he said we were training with the best player in the world. I could not believe it. I was so thrilled, I started to cry and jump (up and down) and after that, it was impossible to follow that (with) training normally, of course,” said Alexandra.