The Dutch tactician had a candid conversation with Khel Now where he touched upon several important topics

Sjoerd Marijne became a well-known figure due to his achievements at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with the Indian women’s hockey team. The outfit managed to reach the semi-finals for the first time, despite a disastrous start to the tournament.

The Indian women’s hockey team lost their first three games to the Netherlands, Germany and Great Britain in the group stage respectively. However, two wins against Ireland and South Africa secured a place in the quarter-finals, where they caused a huge upset by defeating Australia.

The team missed out on a historic bronze medal after defeats to Argentina and Great Britain in the semi-final and the bronze medal match respectively. The fourth-place finish at the Olympics was more than anyone had expected and Sjoerd Marijne was the defining factor behind the turnaround in performance. 

The Dutch coach, however, decided to step down from his position after the tournament. This came as a shock to many fans back home, who were expecting him to continue to improve the players. He cited missing his family and wanting to spend time with them as a reason for stepping down.

Having said that, Sjoerd Marijne’s work with the Indian team will go down in history as a remarkable achievement. Looking back at the conversation, he also presented his side to a recent controversy involving him and the Hockey India authorities. Here is an excerpt where he talks about the allegations from Hockey India and presents his point of view:

Allegations by Hockey India

There is an ongoing controversy wherein Hockey India has accused Sjoerd Marijne of not returning a laptop that contains invaluable data from his time as a coach. As for the former coach, his initial accusation was that the Sports Authority of India (SAI) had not paid him for his services. In response to these allegations, Hockey India released a statement saying that “Marijne has not yet returned a laptop with a similar value. He is also still due to file his report on the Olympic Games 2020. Due to the non-return of the laptop, Hockey India is unable to issue a NOC and as such believe that the Sports Authority of India is well within their rights to retain the $1800.”

Response to allegations

While speaking in regard to these allegations, Sjoerd Marijne said, “The laptop crashed during the Olympics, besides the information from Hockey India, there is also my personal information like emails and these kinds of things (on it). We discussed that I take it back home, get it fixed here and then send it back to India, that’s all. I don’t have any interest in the data from Hockey India because I worked for and my heart is with India.

“There is some miscommunication, so I don’t have any bad intentions at all or I have a bad relationship with Hockey India. This is why I was surprised about that message. I got a question from a journalist and I answered that my salary is pending. I have complete confidence that I will get my final salary. It is something that exploded more than I thought,” Marijne said while insisting that the laptop is already on it’s way back to Hockey India.

Whether incident has caused friction in relations

This controversy seems to have created a rift between Sjoerd Marijne and Hockey India. Talking about if this incident has led to the ending of relations on a sour note, the former coach remarked, “No, I think about the good days and sometimes these things happen. I always had a good relationship with Hockey India and it will keep like that.”

On incident creating negative image of Indian hockey 

In light of recent achievements from both men’s and women’s teams at the Tokyo Olympics, this incident has come as a surprise and sort of a spoilsport. While responding to the query about whether this incident has tarnished Indian hockey’s image on the global stage, he concluded, “I don’t know. For me, it’s solved with Hockey India and I don’t want to make it bigger than it is. This is all what I can do and what people think about it, I don’t have influence on that.” 

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