Indian women's hockey coach Janneke Schopman resigns following disappointing Olympic Qualifiers and Pro League campaign

Great Britain v USA - Women
Janneke Schopman was Analytical Coach of the Indian team before taking over as Chief Coach

Janneke Schopman, chief coach of the Indian women's hockey team, has resigned from her post following the team's inability to qualify for the Paris Olympics and the disappointing Women's Pro League campaign that followed.

Schopman had sent in her resignation to Hockey India President Dr Dilip Tirkey after the end of the Pro League mini-tournament that was played in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela.

Janneke Scopman served as the analytical coach of the Indian women's team under Sjoerd Marijne. She eventually took over the role of chief coach following the Dutchman's refusal to continue after the Tokyo Olympics.

According to a statement from HI, Schopman's resignation "has paved the way for Hockey India to look for a suitable Chief Coach for the Women’s Hockey Team who could prepare the Indian Team for the next Women’s World Cup in 2026 and Los Angeles Olympics 2028."

"It is time to begin a fresh chapter in Indian women’s hockey with the players progress being at the centre of our focus," the media communique read.

The Indians earned a bronze medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games under the tutelage of the former Dutch international who was part of the Netherlands' gold-winning team at the 2008 Olympics and the 2006 World Cup.

India also won a gold medal at the 2023 Asian Champions Trophy at home but failed to come good at the 2022 Women's World Cup, the 2023 Asian Games and the 2024 Olympic Qualifiers.

Recounting Janneke Schopman's journey on the big stage as chief coach

Janneke Schopman began her India journey in January 2020
Janneke Schopman began her India journey in January 2020

Janneke Schopman who was the head coach of the USA women's field hockey side moved to India as an analytical coach in January 2020. The USA had failed to qualify for the Tokyo Games under the former Olympian.

The 46-year-old was part of the Indian coaching team when the Rani Rampal-led side finished fourth at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Janneke Schopman took over the reins of the side after Sjoerd Marijne chose not to continue despite the Indian girls' scripting history in Tokyo. India's bronze-medal finish at the Women's Pro League in 2022 was one of Schopman's biggest moments as chief coach.

A disappointing ninth-place finish at the 2022 Women's World Cup however dampened the spirits of a team that had been on the ascendancy with Marijne as Chief Coach.

The Indian girls failed to earn a direct ticket to the Paris Olympics after losing 0-4 to China in the semi-finals of the 2023 Asian Games. At the Olympic Qualifiers earlier this year, India lost to the USA 0-1 before setting up a semifinal clash against Germany.

A win against the Germans would have guaranteed India a place in the 2024 Olympics but a heartbreaking shootout loss in sudden death dealt a blow to the team's chances.

Needing nothing less than a win against Japan to qualify for the Olympics, the Indians lost the bronze-medal game 0-1.

In the FIH Women's Hockey Pro League that followed, the Indians did well to beat the Australians 1-0 in the second leg of the mini-tournament at Rourkela but went down twice to Asian rivals China by an identical 1-2 margin.

Janneke Schopman's chargers ended the mini-tournament with two wins from eight matches as opposed to continental rivals China who notched up five wins in as many games.

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Edited by Ankush Das
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