Indian women’s hockey team chief coach Sjoerd Marijne expects his wards to reach the quarterfinals of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and says anything less than that would be a big let down. The team will be competing in its second consecutive Olympics in Tokyo having qualified for the Games after a hiatus of 36 years for the Rio Games. India’s best-ever finish at the Summer Games was a fourth place finish in the 1980 Moscow Games and Marijne believes the current team has the potential to match it if the players play according to their strength.
“The expectations in India are very high. If you are realistic, only two countries are lower ranked than us and that’s Japan and South Africa. So, I don’t know from where these expectations are based on.
“I think probably because we did good in the past in the last four years, but still we have to be realistic. We are focusing on reaching the quarterfinals and that’s realistic and from there anything can happen,” Marijne said at a virtual media conference.
The Dutch coach said if they fail to reach the quarterfinals, it would be a big disappointment for the players, who have made a lot of sacrifices to realise their dreams in these difficult times.
“…but for me the most important is our performances and I know this is easier. I just want to see that this team reaches its potential and my job is to help the team reach its potential.
“If we play every pool match to our potential and fail to reach quarters I am still happy. But I think playing by potential will help us reaching the quarterfinals and even more,” he said.
“…if I am disappointed, I will be disappointed for the girls, because I know every day how hard they have worked. They miss their families, always being away. I know how much effort they have put in this process,” he added.