The Dutch ‘Chak De India’ coach
The Indian women’s hockey coach SjoerdMarijne guided the team to the semi-final of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Former Dutch player SjoerdMarijne was appointed the coach of the Indian women’s team in 2017. However, he was shifted to the men’s team later that year.
In a turn of events, the Federation reappointed him as the Indian women’s hockey coach in 2018. The coach had every reason to be disgruntled with the move given the manner in which it was carried out.
Especially given the fact that he was on the verge of achieving something special with the men’s team which he said was among the ‘most challenging’ teams in world hockey.
Getting down to work
However, it was the character of the man that he did not sulk and instead put all his energy in raising the Indian women’s hockey team from ground up which went on to achieve history in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“The moment I returned back to women, Savita (goalkeeper) came to my room and said ‘Listen, we are really happy you are back.’ That moment, for me was the changing moment. I felt okay, it’s good to be there again. But people shouldn’t misunderstand me. It was not that I was disappointed to go back to women’s team, I was not happy the way they handled it with men’s team because I left at a really good moment,” coach SjoerdMarijne recalled.
The ‘Chak De’ moment
Many including captain Rani Rampal and goalkeeper Savita Punia have spoken positively of Marijne’s contribution in the rise of Indian women’s hockey.
The coach was understandably proud after India reached the semifinal of the 2020 Olympics.
“I am proud of how close we were in matches against Great Britain and Argentina. It was not a walkover. The fighting in the last match, coming back it shows the new Indian women’s team. They never gave up and it is something that has changed over the years. That’s an effort of the girls and the whole staff. You believe in yourself and that’s where it starts. Then you have to work really hard, be disciplined in what you do or otherwise you are not achieving anything. And then it’s about dealing with the pressure. The women’s team does not always face that pressure. So we have come really far and that’s what makes me proud in what we achieved,” Marijne signed off.