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'As a woman, India is extremely difficult'

February 19, 2024 17:39 IST

IMAGE: The current India coach opened up about Hockey India's treatment towards women coaches. Photographs: Kind courtesy Janneke Schopman/Instagram

The Indian women's team have endured a tough run in recent times, failing to win gold at the Asian Games and their failure to qualify for the Olympics added to their troubles.

Current Indian women's team Coach Janneke Schopman hit out at the sports governing body, stating that she felt 'alone a lot in the last two years'.

Speaking to the Indian Express newspaper on the sidelines of the FIH Pro league, Schopman opened up on the challenges she faced in her job. The Dutchwoman said she wasn't valued and respected and the sports governing body treated her differently from her male counterparts.

Opening up about her experience of dealing with officials in Hockey India, Schopman told the Indian Express, 'I come from a culture where women are respected and valued. I don't feel that here.'

Schopman had joined then chief coach Sjoerd Marijne's coaching staff in January 2020 as an analytical coach.

'Even when I was the assistant coach some people wouldn't even look at me or wouldn't acknowledge me or wouldn't respond and then you become the chief coach and all of a sudden people are interested in you. I struggled a lot with that,' Schopman said.

Talking about the differential treatment meted out to men and women's coaches, Schopman said, 'I look at the difference at how men's coaches are treated. Between me and the men's coach, or the girls and the men's team, just in general.

'They (the players) never complain and they work so hard. I shouldn't speak for them, so I won't. I love them. I think they work so hard, they do what I ask, they want to learn, want to do new things.

'But for me personally, coming from The Netherlands, having worked in the USA, this country is extremely difficult as a woman, coming from a culture where, yeah, you can have an opinion and its valued. It's really hard.'

Asked if she would continue with the team, Schopman said, 'Maybe, despite the fact that I know it's tough.'

'But like I said, I love the girls and I see so much potential. But it is very hard for me as an individual.'