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Last Updated: Saturday, 24 April, 2004, 12:28 GMT 13:28 UK
Hockey: Stars to watch
BBC Sport marks your hockey card four international names to watch out for at the Olympic Games.

TEUN DE NOOIJER Netherlands

Teun de Nooijer
De Nooijer beat a field of 10 to the Player of the Year award
The Dutch forward was named world player of the year for the first time in 2003 after another season of brilliant attacking play.

De Nooijer names football legend Johan Cruyff as his hero and he is capable of similar magic to the former Ajax star.

His golden goal against Spain in the 1998 World Cup final was a highlight of his career to date, as was a spectacular scoring record as the Netherlands won Olympic gold in both Atlanta and Sydney.

The 29-year-old hits the target from anywhere in the circle and is able to combine searing pace with deft stick work, making him a defender's nightmare.

The Dutch men will be hoping for a third consecutive Olympic title and they have the best striker in the world at the peak of his powers to help them.

TROY ELDER Australia

Australia's men are keen to emulate the success of the nation's women, who are double Olympic champions, and so must improve on two silvers and a bronze at the last three Games.

If they are to do so, 26-year-old Queenslander Elder will surely play a key role.

Among the nominations for 2003 world player of the year and player of the tournament at the 2002 World Cup, he is a powerful, goal-scoring midfielder.

He is a consistent penalty-corner converter and was the driving force behind Australia's impressive march to the 2002 World Cup final.

The defeat to Germany was a surprise but could provide the extra motivation Australia's men need to claim a first Olympic gold.

KATIE ALLEN Australia

The 30-year-old is one of the toughest defenders in the game and plays a key role for the all-powerful Australian team.

Allen made her debut in 1993 and has won two World Cups, three Champions Trophies and a Commonwealth Games gold medal.

But the highlight of her career came in Sydney four years ago when the host nation took gold.

The victory was particularly special for Allen after she had missed out on being part of the winning side in Atlanta in 1996.

And after finishing a disappointing fourth in the 2002 World Cup, Allen and her team-mates showed they were back on form with victory in last year's Champions trophy in Sydney.

LUCIANA AYMAR Argentina

Argentina player Luciana Aymar
Aymar is a leading light for Argentina
The attacking midfielder is one of the best athletes and most gifted players in world hockey.

Since making her senior debut at the 1998 World Cup, she has won a silver medal in Sydney and gold at the 2001 Champions Trophy and the 2002 World Cup.

Her acceleration and sublime ball control made her player of the tournament as Argentina became world champions in Perth.

A record of almost a goal every three games illustrates the scoring power Aymar brings to the midfield.

And the 27-year-old's importance to a side that has struggled by its own high standards recently was clear at last year's Champions Trophy, when Aymar was named player of the tournament as top scorer despite Argentina finishing fourth.





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