Australian Olympic hockey player Neil Hawgood has made return to the Indian women’s national hockey team as an assistant coach. Hockey India made the decision to reappoint him with the 2016 Rio Olympics in mind, reports IBN Live. Keep in mind, the Indian eves have made it to the Olympics after a staggering thiry-six years.
Hawgood’s success with the team was instrumental in his appointment, as the Indian eves enjoyed a couple of years of prosperity when he was chief coach between 2012-2014. Under his mentorship, the team won round two of the Hockey World League and a silver medal in the Asian Champions trophy in 2013. They went on to win a bronze in the 2014 Asian Games and managed the fifth spot in the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Hawgood, a member of the 1986 World Cup-winning Australian team, was engaged in the capacity of a consultant with the Malaysian Hockey Confederation of late. He was also the head coach of the Malaysian men’s national team that made it to the Hockey World League Semifinals earlier this year, reports The Tribune.
Unfortunately, the Malaysian Hockey Federation did not even approve of him being attached as a consultant, and nipped in the bud the National Sports Council’s efforts to appoint him as head coach. Hawgood hence approached Hockey India.
The fifty-three-year-old had this to say on his appointment: “Working with the Indian women's hockey team has been a great experience. I am extremely proud of their performance and am glad that they secured a spot for themselves for the Rio Olympics 2016. It's their hard work that has brought them here, and I hope to add value to them and take them to the next level which they and this nation aspires to see them in.”
President of Hockey India, Narinder Batra, expressed his satisfaction on Hagwood’s appointment in a statement to the Economic Times: “We are happy to have Neil Hawgood back with us on board as a coach for the Indian Women's hockey program. Under Neil's able leadership, the Indian women's hockey team had progressed extremely well in the last two-and-half years and we look forward to a similar and much-enhanced result in Indian hockey team's ranking and performance.”