Indian women’s hockey chief coach Sjoerd Marijne says he sees no reason why his ninth-ranked side can’t qualify for next year’s 12-team competition at the Tokyo Olympics.
Hours before India’s departure for the FIH Women’s Series Finals in Hiroshima, Marijne Friday said he is confident of qualifying for the Olympics, the first step of which will be the upcoming tournament in Japan.
Like the ongoing men’s event in Bhubaneshwar, the top two teams of FIH Women’s Series Finals in Hiroshima will progress to the FIH Olympic Qualifiers, to be held later this year.
“We are number nine in the world and 12 teams can participate (in the Olympics) so it’s a very realistic goal for us,” Marijne said.
“We are working really hard to make sure we are fully prepared to book our tickets to Tokyo 2020, but our current focus is on doing well in this tournament,” he added.
India are the highest ranked side in the tournament. Japan are at 14th and Chile are placed 16th. Besides, the other participating teams in the tournament are Poland (23rd), Uruguay (24th), Russia (25th), Mexico (29th) and Fiji (44th).
India are placed in Pool A alongside Poland, Uruguay and Fiji, while Pool B consist of Japan, Chile, Russia and Mexico.
“We are the highest ranked team there and for us it’s important to win this so we will get 500 points. We must be consistent and if we do, we have a big chance to be successful,” Marijne said.
“Japan and Chile are second and third highest ranked countries and who had good results in Test matches before this tournament. Both are good teams and we can’t underestimate.”
Marijne said having worked on the mental aspect of the players in the past couple of months, the team is now well prepared to deliver the goods.
“We had three tours and between them we had camps where we were able to work on our fitness and specific skills. All three tours went well and gave us good confidence for the FIH Series Finals,” he said.
“We played against different styles so we are prepared for everything and besides this we worked hard on the mental side to grow as a team and as individual. We focused on topics like giving feedback to each other, leadership, taking responsibility and not to get distracted,” he added.
India will open their campaign against Uruguay on June 15 before taking on Poland (June 16) and Fiji (June 18).