By Emily Goddard

kate walsh 180213February 19 - Kate Walsh and Barry Middleton have been awarded the Hockey Writers' Club (HWC) 2012 UK Players of the Year titles after the pair led the British women's and men's teams, respectively, at the London 2012 Olympics.

Walsh (pictured top), now a three-time Olympian, earned herself the nickname of "Captain Courageous" during the Games when she came back from a serious broken jaw injury during her team's opening match with Japan to lead her squad to a bronze medal thanks to a 3-1 win over New Zealand.

The 32-year-old, who has already held the HWC's UK Player of the Year twice previously in 2003 and 2007, has since gone back to her job as assistant coach for her club side, Reading.

"Kate has been an incredible ambassador for our sport and been fantastic all year so is thoroughly deserving of her accolade," said club and international teammate Alex Danson, the 2011 HWC Player of the Year.

Middleton, meanwhile, claimed his fourth HWC Player of the Year Award, having also won the title in 2006, 2007 and 2010, after his team finished in fourth place at the London 2012 Olympics.

The 29-year-old, who currently plays for Dutch club HGC, has amassed a combined total of 270 caps - 165 for England and 105 for Britain - and netted 79 goals since launching his international career in 2003.

Barry Middleton receives his award from Leandro Negre L and Richard LemanBarry Middleton receives his award from Leandro Negre (left) and President of Great Britain Hockey Richard Leman

He has also made clear his intentions to compete at the Rio 2016 Olympics, which would be his fourth Games following Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012.

"I'm looking to go to Rio," Middleton explained.

"I want to play for four more years.

"Hockey's my life; it's what I've always done.

"I feel fit enough to carry on.

"As soon as I stop enjoying hockey or I feel I'm not helping the team then that's when I'll stop."

Middleton was presented the award by International Hockey Federation (FIH) President Leandro Negre during a lunch at the Royal Thames Yacht Club in Knightsbridge, London.

Walsh was unable to be at the ceremony due to her commitments with the British Olympic Association, (BOA) but England Hockey representative Jennie Byass collected the award on her behalf.

Middleton's teammate Ashley Jackson and Walsh's fellow London 2012 bronze medallist Danson were named as runners up of the HWC UK Players of the Year Award, with Glenn Kirkham and Crista Cullen in third place.

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