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Janneke Schopman resigns as Indian women's hockey team coach

Published at :February 23, 2024 at 8:56 PM
Modified at :March 6, 2024 at 4:34 PM
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(Courtesy : Hockey India)

Ajay Gandhar

Her resignation comes after fallout with hockey India and disappointing results.

Janneke Schopman, the coach of the Indian women’s hockey team, has resigned from her post days after accusing Hockey India of mistreatment. Schopman, who had taken charge of the team in 2020 and had a contract till August 2024, submitted her resignation to Hockey India President Padma Shri Dr. Dilip Tirkey after the conclusion of the Indian women’s hockey team’s outing in the home leg of the Women’s FIH Pro League 2023-24 in Odisha.

Schopman’s resignation comes just days after she broke down in front of the media, accusing Hockey India of giving more preference and support to the men’s team while neglecting the women’s team. She said that she did not feel “valued and respected” by the federation and that the women’s team had to face many challenges and difficulties in terms of facilities, exposure, and funding.

Schopman’s exit also marks the end of a bitter saga that began with the failure of the women’s team to qualify for the Paris Olympics 2024. The team had two chances to book their ticket to Paris but missed both of them. They first lost to China in the Semifinals of the Asian Games in 2022, and then to Japan in the third-fourth-place match of the FIH Olympic qualifiers in Ranchi in 2023. The team also failed to impress in the FIH Pro League, where they finished 6th after the Indian leg.

Schopman, a former Dutch international and Olympic gold medalist, joined the Indian team as an analytical coach in 2020, under the head coach Sjoerd Marijne. She was promoted to the head coach position after Marijne left, where the women’s team finished fourth, their best-ever result in the history of the Games.

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Under Schopman, the Indian team had a mixed record, winning 52% of matches but failing to make big moments count. The only big thing, winning the gold medal in the Asian Champions Trophy in 2023 in Jharkhand, and grabbing the Bronze medal beating Newzealand. They also participated in several tours and invitational tournaments, where they faced some of the top teams in the world.

Schopman’s resignation has left a void in the Indian women’s hockey team, which will now have to look for a new coach to guide them in the upcoming events.

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