Hockey | Next goal is to qualify for Olympics, says Sjoerd Marijne

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Hockey | Next goal is to qualify for Olympics, says Sjoerd Marijne

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SportsCafe Desk

01/22/2019

Women’s Hockey coach Sjoerd Marijne has stated that after good performances at the World Cup and Asian Games last year, the next goal for the team is to qualify for the Olympics 2020. Last year, the women’s team reached the quarterfinals of the World Cup and won the silver medal at the Asian Games.

Last year there was a lot of hullabaloo about the Indian men’s hockey team but they disappointed at crucial junctures, like failing to clinch the gold medal at the Asian Games and losing the World Cup quarterfinals against the Netherlands. On the other hand, the Women’s Hockey team has impressed one and all by reaching the quarterfinals of the World Cup after 40 years. Then they also won a silver medal at the Asian Games, a better performance than their men counterparts, who could only manage the bronze medal.

“It’s easy to train when you have a goal. After the Asian Games, there was no goal as there was nothing in December. Now, we have a goal. We have to work for the Test series [against Spain] and then the Olympic qualifiers. And from there, we hopefully go to the Olympics,” Marijne told scroll.in.

The women’s team were having an off season as not many events were lined up in recent months. The year will also go by without any major events but with the Tokyo Olympics lined up next year, the coach stated that qualifying for the Olympics will be the next major goal for the team. Marijne also recalled his team’s best performance and stated that the way girls played their first World Cup match against England will stand out for him.

“I was really proud how the team played in the first match in the World Cup against England. It was the first World Cup for most girls in the team. But I didn’t see even one, who was afraid to play. Yes, we drew that match. But for me, it’s about the behaviour – and, it was so professional that I was happy.”

The coach also praised the women's team scientific advisor Wayne Lombard for his work on the fitness levels of the team. He also gave examples as to how the team managed a hectic workload of back to back major tournaments last year. Yet, he reckons that the team is just a few steps away from reaching the levels of the best International sides.

“We can improve in every area. But considering where the players come from, and what they managed to achieve last year, big credit to Wayne Lombard, the scientific coach. A lot of people were worried if the team could play two back-to-back high profile tournaments [the World Cup in July and Asian Games in August]. But they did that – they didn’t lose the Asian Games final because of fitness issues. Of course, we aren’t at the top in fitness yet. But it’s just a few steps away.”

Marijne also stated that he doesn't feel any pressure as the results are there for everybody to see. He also revealed that his goals are always bigger than what others perceive it to be.  

“I don’t feel any pressure because Hockey India knows what I do with the women’s team. The results are good, the process is good. So, I am not worried. My goals are always bigger than what someone else tells me. In the Asian Games, I wanted to be first. If we achieve that, we have to get to the Olympics and if we make it there, we want to go for the highest goal. So, my expectations from myself is always high.”

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