Sports

Indian Women's Team Coach Janneke Schopman Levies Serious Allegations Against Hockey India

Schopman, the first woman coach of the Indian hockey team, in an interview with The Indian Express, has spoken about her day-to-day challenges in the top job and dealing with Hockey India

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Coach Janneke Schopman. Photo: Hockey India
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Indian women's hockey team coach, Janneke Schopman has pointed fingers at Hockey India, the apex body of the sport in the country via an interview to The Indian Expresss. The Dutch coach has levied some serious allegations against the board in an interview post India's 2-1 defeat to USA in their final match of the Rourkela leg of the FIH Hockey Pro League 2023/24. (More Hockey News)

Schopman, who has won an Olympic gold medal with the Netherlands team in 2008, was initially an analytical coach with the team in 2020 and in 2021 was hired as the chief coach after the Tokyo Olympics.

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While being interviewed, she broke down and spoke about the day-to-day challenges she faced in the top jon and dealing with the authorities in Hockey India as per the report.

"Very hard, very hard. Because, you know, I come from a culture where women are respected and valued. I don't feel that here," she said.

Schopman, 46, felt that she was 'felt alone in the last two years' and further claimed that she was not 'valued and respected' by the Hockey India.

"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," she said.

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"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 women 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 wanna learn, wanna do new things," Schopman said.

"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 it's valued. It's really hard."

She further adds that she would have quit post the Commonwealth Games 2022 where India won the bronze medal.

"If you asked my family, I should have left after a year. In hindsight, I should have left after the Commonwealth Games because it was too hard for me to manage," she said.

Her future is up in the air ever since the Indian women's hockey team failed to qualify for the Paris Olympics and has been a matter of specualation.

"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," Janneke said if she will stay with the Indian team or not.

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The Hockey India authorities have not responded to the controversial interview.

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