Tokyo: Watching a movie on self belief after three consecutive losses rebuilt the Indian women’s hockey team’s shattered morale. The film helped the team to ‘aim for the clouds’. The side’s Dutch coach Sjoerd Marijne revealed Monday after Rani Rampal and Co entered their maiden Olympic semifinals here. It was indeed a great feat for the Rani Rampal-led side.
The Indian team bounced back tremendously after successive losses. Marijne said the movie helped psychologically ahead of the must-win pool game against Ireland. However, he did not reveal its name.
“The difference is believing in ourselves and believing the dreams. Then it’s about going back to reality focussing on your past. I think that is the main thing and that’s what we did,” Marijne said. His comments came after India upset World No.2 Australia in the quarterfinals here.
“If you lose you don’t stop believing and that’s what I told the girls. The most important thing is to stay in the moment. I showed them a movie and that movie is about being in the moment. I think that was really helpful. Against Ireland we kept on referring to that movie,” Marijne informed.
Marijne, however refused to divulge the name of the movie. He said, “It’s mentioned in my book which I have written about my experiences in India during the lockdown.”
Marijne said all he asked the team to do was to aim for the highest. “In India you must think big and that’s what I said to the girls. If you aim for the highest, for the clouds, you will fall on the highest mountain. If you aim for the mountain you will fall on the ground,” he explained. “We went for the clouds and I said whatever happens after it doesn’t matter, but that’s where we have to aim for,” he added.
Rani too credited the movie for the turnaround of fortunes. “I think that movie really helped us. That movie gave us the boost to be in the present moment. Just think about what is in front of you, don’t think about past. Today the coaches said just focus on the 60 minutes, just do your job for 60 minutes,” Rani informed after the match.
The coach said he is a proud man as this achievement holds great significance for women’s hockey in India.
“…We were thinking what is the big goal for the women’s (team)? It’s not about winning medals, it’s about inspiring women in India. That’s the legacy that you want to create, that’s the legacy the girls want to create. This is our thing and I am there to help, and a medal helps in these things,” the 45-year-old Dutchman said.
“And I now think that a lot of girls in India will be inspired; OK, I also want this, I also want to let my dream come true. And that is something bigger than anything,” Marijne added.
Skipper Rani also credited their hard work in the last five years for the remarkable turnaround after 2016 Rio Olympics. The Indian team had finished last in Rio.
“Rio was not really a good experience for us. We don’t want to think about Rio because it gives us unhappy moments. But after that in the last five years we have worked so hard. The coaches also have played a big role in this journey,” Rani stated.
“They always told us just stick to the plans and just play your game and keep believing in yourself. Fitness wise we weren’t up to the mark in Rio. Our journey was not easy,” the Indian captain added.
The skipper was full of praise for the side’s back-line. It withstood tremendous pressure from three-time Olympic champions Australia to eke out the narrow win.
“In the half time we were 1-0 up. We just said to each other just keep playing our brand of hockey but also we need to better our defence. It is not easy to defend one goal, we really defended well in the last three quarters. I am really proud of the team,” Rani signed off.