Indian hockey

I want to win the Asian Games and the World Cup, says men’s hockey coach Sjoerd Marijne

Marijne has set his sights on retaining the Asia Games crown to give his players ample time to prepare themselves for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

With a heavy calendar lined up this year, Indian men’s hockey team chief coach Sjoerd Marijne has set his sights on retaining the Asia Games crown to give his players ample time to prepare themselves for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

India has a heavy schedule this year with as many as four important international tournaments lined up in Commonwealth Games, Champions Trophy, Asian Games and the season-ending FIH men’s World Cup, besides the Azlan Shah Cup.

Asian Game is priority

But for the coach winning the Asian Games and World Cup sits at the top of his agenda.

“I want to win the Asian Games and the World Cup. Those are my two objectives.

If you win the Asian Games, you become the first team in the world to qualify for the Olympics. So you get almost 2 years to prepare and that would be perfect. That’s what we are aiming for,” said Marinje.

The Dutchman said other tournaments will act as a preparatory platform in the pursuit of his team’s goal which is the Asian Games and World Cup.

“But every tournament this year is important because the other tournaments will help us prepare for the big tournaments. So we are taking every tournament very seriously,” he said. “The Champions Trophy we can use to prepare for the Asian Games. The level is really high and that’s good for us. It’s really an honour to be a part of the last Champions Trophy.”

Experimentation will continue

Since taking over the charge of the team four months back, Marijne has been experimenting with the squad in every tournament and the coach said the process will continue until he finds the right combination.

“During the New Zealand tour, we had another group from the World League Finals and Asia Cup and it also will be the same with the Azlan Shah and the Commonwealth Games. We have to think about the mental state of the players and their body,” he said.

“We have good depth in the team. We have involved a lot of players in the last few months and we did that with purpose thinking about this year. In the New Zealand tour a few youngsters made their debut,” Marijne said. “It’s about finding a right mix of experienced and junior players. We want to have depth.”

Winning start for Marijne 

Marijne so far has had a successful outing with the Indian men’s team, winning medals in both the Hockey World League Final and Asia Cup under him.

“It’s nice to win medals but it’s important to stay critical to yourself because if you think everything is good you will not improve. If you are critical to yourself then you are making steps and that’s what we are doing now,” he said.

Asked whether he feels any outside pressure, Marijne replied, “No, I don’t feel pressure. The highest pressure I feel is from myself. I want to win everything. But the most important is players want to win. They want to have a legacy and there is nothing beautiful than creating legacy. And you create legacy by winning medals.”

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Swara Bhasker: Sharp objects has to be on the radar of every woman who is tired of being “nice”

The actress weighs in on what she loves about the show.

This article has been written by award-winning actor Swara Bhasker.

All women growing up in India, South Asia, or anywhere in the world frankly; will remember in some form or the other that gentle girlhood admonishing, “Nice girls don’t do that.” I kept recalling that gently reasoned reproach as I watched Sharp Objects (you can catch it on Hotstar Premium). Adapted from the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects has been directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who has my heart since he gave us Big Little Lies. It stars the multiple-Oscar nominee Amy Adams, who delivers a searing performance as Camille Preaker; and Patricia Clarkson, who is magnetic as the dominating and dark Adora Crellin. As an actress myself, it felt great to watch a show driven by its female performers.

The series is woven around a troubled, alcohol-dependent, self-harming, female journalist Camille (single and in her thirties incidentally) who returns to the small town of her birth and childhood, Wind Gap, Missouri, to report on two similarly gruesome murders of teenage girls. While the series is a murder mystery, it equally delves into the psychology, not just of the principal characters, but also of the town, and thus a culture as a whole.

There is a lot that impresses in Sharp Objects — the manner in which the storytelling gently unwraps a plot that is dark, disturbing and shocking, the stellar and crafty control that Jean-Marc Vallée exercises on his narrative, the cinematography that is fluid and still manages to suggest that something sinister lurks within Wind Gap, the editing which keeps this narrative languid yet sharp and consistently evokes a haunting sensation.

Sharp Objects is also liberating (apart from its positive performance on Bechdel parameters) as content — for female actors and for audiences in giving us female centric and female driven shows that do not bear the burden of providing either role-models or even uplifting messages. 

Instead, it presents a world where women are dangerous and dysfunctional but very real — a world where women are neither pure victims, nor pure aggressors. A world where they occupy the grey areas, complex and contradictory as agents in a power play, in which they control some reigns too.

But to me personally, and perhaps to many young women viewers across the world, what makes Sharp Objects particularly impactful, perhaps almost poignant, is the manner in which it unravels the whole idea, the culture, the entire psychology of that childhood admonishment “Nice girls don’t do that.” Sharp Objects explores the sinister and dark possibilities of what the corollary of that thinking could be.

“Nice girls don’t do that.”

“Who does?”

“Bad girls.”

“So I’m a bad girl.”

“You shouldn’t be a bad girl.”

“Why not?”

“Bad girls get in trouble.”

“What trouble? What happens to bad girls?”

“Bad things.”

“What bad things?”

“Very bad things.”

“How bad?”

“Terrible!!!”

“Like what?”

“Like….”

A point the show makes early on is that both the victims of the introductory brutal murders were not your typically nice girly-girls. Camille, the traumatised protagonist carrying a burden from her past was herself not a nice girl. Amma, her deceptive half-sister manipulates the nice girl act to defy her controlling mother. But perhaps the most incisive critique on the whole ‘Be a nice girl’ culture, in fact the whole ‘nice’ culture — nice folks, nice manners, nice homes, nice towns — comes in the form of Adora’s character and the manner in which beneath the whole veneer of nice, a whole town is complicit in damning secrets and not-so-nice acts. At one point early on in the show, Adora tells her firstborn Camille, with whom she has a strained relationship (to put it mildly), “I just want things to be nice with us but maybe I don’t know how..” Interestingly it is this very notion of ‘nice’ that becomes the most oppressive and deceptive experience of young Camille, and later Amma’s growing years.

This ‘Culture of Nice’ is in fact the pervasive ‘Culture of Silence’ that women all over the world, particularly in India, are all too familiar with. 

It takes different forms, but always towards the same goal — to silence the not-so-nice details of what the experiences; sometimes intimate experiences of women might be. This Culture of Silence is propagated from the child’s earliest experience of being parented by society in general. Amongst the values that girls receive in our early years — apart from those of being obedient, dutiful, respectful, homely — we also receive the twin headed Chimera in the form of shame and guilt.

“Have some shame!”

“Oh for shame!”

“Shameless!”

“Shameful!”

“Ashamed.”

“Do not bring shame upon…”

Different phrases in different languages, but always with the same implication. Shameful things happen to girls who are not nice and that brings ‘shame’ on the family or everyone associated with the girl. And nice folks do not talk about these things. Nice folks go on as if nothing has happened.

It is this culture of silence that women across the world today, are calling out in many different ways. Whether it is the #MeToo movement or a show like Sharp Objects; or on a lighter and happier note, even a film like Veere Di Wedding punctures this culture of silence, quite simply by refusing to be silenced and saying the not-nice things, or depicting the so called ‘unspeakable’ things that could happen to girls. By talking about the unspeakable, you rob it of the power to shame you; you disallow the ‘Culture of Nice’ to erase your experience. You stand up for yourself and you build your own identity.

And this to me is the most liberating aspect of being an actor, and even just a girl at a time when shows like Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies (another great show on Hotstar Premium), and films like Veere Di Wedding and Anaarkali Of Aarah are being made.

The next time I hear someone say, “Nice girls don’t do that!”, I know what I’m going to say — I don’t give a shit about nice. I’m just a girl! And that’s okay!

Swara is a an award winning actor of the Hindi film industry. Her last few films, including Veere Di Wedding, Anaarkali of Aaraah and Nil Battey Sannata have earned her both critical and commercial success. Swara is an occasional writer of articles and opinion pieces. The occasions are frequent :).

Watch the trailer of Sharp Objects here:

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This article was published by the Scroll marketing team with Swara Bhasker on behalf of Hotstar Premium and not by the Scroll editorial team.