Women's coach Marijne given charge of men's hockey team
Women's national hockey coach Sjoerd Marijne was on Friday named chief coach of the Indian men's team -- a stunning decision given that the Dutchman has no prior experience of handling a senior men's side.
Marijne replaced Roelant Oltmans, who was sacked after a few ordinary performances in the past few months.
Besides, World Cup-winning junior team coach Harendra Singh was appointed High Performance Specialist coach of the senior women's team.
While Marijne will take charge on September 20 after returning from an ongoing tour of Europe with the women's team, Harendra will be on the job on Saturday itself.
The decisions were announced by newly-appointed sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore on his official Twitter page.
“Current Chief Coach of Indian Senior Women Hockey Team, Mr. Waltherus Marijne,will take over as Chief Coach of Indian Senior Men Hockey Team," Rathore tweeted.
"Pleased to announce appt of Sh Harendra Singh, Dronacharya Award winner, as High Performance Specialist Coach fr Indian Snr Women Hockey Team," the Minister added.
According to a top Hockey India official, both Marijne and Harendra have been given a tenure till the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The sports ministry issued a release stating that the decisions were taken on Thursday after a joint meeting between the Sports Authority of India and Hockey India.
"The Joint Committee Meeting of SAI and Hockey India held at SAI, here on 7th September 2017 appointed Shri Harendra Singh, Dronacharya Awardee, Hockey Coach as High Performance Specialist Coach for Indian Senior Women Hockey Team.
"This decision has been taken jointly by SAI and Hockey India on the basis of recent and past performance of Shri Harendra Singh, wherein under his coaching the junior men team won the Junior Men World Cup in 2016 at Lucknow.
"He was also the Chief Coach of the Senior Men Hockey team from 2008 to 2009 and National coach from 2009 to 2010. He is a Level III certified Coach," the release read.
The ministry stated that Marijne has accepted the new role.
"It has also been decided in the meeting that, the present Chief Coach of India senior women Hockey Team, Mr. Waltherus Norbertus Maria Marijne will take over as Chief Coach of Indian Senior Men Hockey Team on his return from the on-going Europe tour. Mr Marijne has accepted the offer of Chief Coach of the senior Indian Men Hockey Team," it added.
The decision came as a bolt from the blue as Hockey India had advertised seeking Oltmans' successor on its website just three days ago. Hockey India had set September 15 as the deadline to apply for the post.
However, the a top official said Hockey India withdrew the advertisement on Thursday.
It has been learnt that Marijne was initially reluctant to take up the role. The 43-year-old Dutchman, who was appointed as the Indian women's coach in February earlier this year, has never worked with a national men's team before.
But he agreed after Hockey India and SAI convinced him.
The position for men's coach had fallen vacant after Oltmans was sacked last Saturday following a string of poor performances in the recent past.