'I will miss the girls, but I miss my family more. This is a beautiful way to end this journey.'
The Indian women's hockey team's chief coach Sjoerd Marijne revealed that the bronze medal match against Great Britain in the ongoing Olympics was his last assignment with the side.
The 47-year-old coached India’s women's hockey team to its best-ever performance in the Olympic Games, guiding them to a creditable fourth place finish in Tokyo on Friday.
The Indian women came tantalisingly close to winning their maiden Olympics medal before being beaten by Great Britain 3-4 in a close bronze medal play-off match.
Hours after, on Friday, Marijne announced that it was his last assignment with the team.
"I don't have any plans because this was my last match with the Indian women. It's up to Janneka (Schopman) now," the Dutchman told Indian media in a virtual press conference.
"I will miss the girls, but I miss my family more. My family is No 1. I want to be with my son, daughter and wife after being away for three-and-a-half years. This is a beautiful way to end this journey," he said.
It is learned that both Marijne and the team's analytical coach, Janneka Schopman, were offered an extension by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) but the former refused the offer due to personal reasons.
Sources in the know of developments said that Schopman is expected to take over Marine's position on a full-time basis now.
Marijne, a former Dutch player, took over the reins of the Indian women's team first in 2017 but was appointed the coach of the men's side later that year.
However, in 2018, he was re-designated the women's coach in a rejigging of roles.
Marijne has played for The Netherlands, and guided the Dutch Under-21 women's side to a World Cup title and the Dutch senior women's side to a gold medal at the Hockey World League semi-finals in 2015.
The affable Dutchman has been unable to visit his family for the last 16 months due to the COVID-19 related travel restrictions and this ultimately proved too much for him to deal with.
He had made efforts to get back home but could not because of the restrictions. He then began writing a book detailing his experiences of being in India during the lockdown.