With Dutchman Sjoerd Marijne at the helm, few can still believe the surreal progress that the Indian women’s hockey team has made. From finishing last at the 2016 Rio Olympics to barely making the qualification cut for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the Rani Rampal-led women’s side, has scripted a fairytale at the ongoing Games in Japan. Entering the Tokyo Olympics as underdogs, this motley team went on to create history and finished fourth at the Olympics, their best-ever performance and truth be told, the bronze medal was only a whisker away from their reach.
As the final whistle blew after the Indian team’s match against Great Britain for the bronze, the tears were quick to burst from the Indian girls who gave it their everything. On the sidelines of the field, Coach Sjoerd Marijne also battled tears. As an overly emotional audience watched this near-miss story unfold at the Oi Hockey Stadium, little did they or anyone know this was the last time they were seeing Marijne on the field with the Indian girls.
Only hours later in a press conference, the Dutchman made a shocking announcement that has left Indian hockey fans feeling absolutely gutted.
“This will be my last match with the Indian women’s hockey team”:Coach Sjoerd Marijne
Ever inspirational, Coach Sjoerd Marijne deserves a major chunk of the credit for leading the Indian girls to where they did at Tokyo – taking on the very best’s and giving them a taste of their own medicines. Ever passionate about the sport as well, Marijne stayed rock solid by the side of his girls and kept on egging them forward – making them believe, that yes, the sky is their only limit. With this shock announcement, especially after the spectacular show put up by the Indian girls in Tokyo, hockey fans are left feeling at a loss, unable to digest this as well.