Sjoerd Marijne: This was my last match with Indian women's hockey team

Sjoerd Marijne's contract with the Indian women's hockey team has ended. His team finished fourth at the Tokyo Olympics on Friday.

Indian women's hockey team coach Sjoerd Marijne has stepped down from his position.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

After his last assignment with the Indian women’s hockey team, chief coach Sjoerd Marijne was proud of the girls’ fourth-place finish in the Tokyo Olympics and hoped that they would inspire the newer generation of players in the country.

Marijne backed the Indian team after its defeat to Great Britain in the bronze medal match on Friday. “We did not win a medal but we achieved something bigger to make the country proud,” said Marijne at a virtual press conference.

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Marijne highlighted the fact that the side believed in its ability and earned a creditable finish despite its low ranking, 10th place about a month before the Olympics. “We are among the best four and everybody is taking us seriously. That’s a big step.”

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The Dutchman, who had taken over as the coach in February 2017, revealed that the Olympics bronze medal contest was his last match with the women’s side and said more exposure, like Hockey India League and Pro League, would help the team grow. “I don’t have any plans because this was my last match with the women. It’s up to (analytical coach) Janneke (Schopman) now.”

Marijne said the girls were emotional after the defeat. “They are still emotional. They wanted to win. Only when they arrive in India will they see it’s not so bad. It will take time.

“Every girl has a story, and every story is amazing. The Netherlands doesn’t have these kinds of stories. These stories inspire the new generation.”

Olympic gold medallist Janneke said, “The medal has been missed, but the journey makes it different. The journey is worth it. They don’t understand it right now,” said Janneke.

Janneke, who also works on the mental side of the players, said, “When you are an athlete, your mind plays a vicious role. If you make a mistake, you need to make it normal. You still have to run. It’s about being aware, allowing the feelings and thoughts to be there and focusing on the job. It’s about being honest,” said Janneke.

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