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Hockey Junior World Cup: Coach quits, Indian team suffers a huge setback

other sports Updated: Dec 13, 2016 12:35 IST
Junior hockey

After playing a key role in the Indian junior hockey team’s progress in the hockey junior World Cup currently underway at Lucknow, its strategic coach Roger van Gent from the Netherlands is set to quit owing to family commitments.(PTI)

Lucknow Indian hockey’s strategic coach Roger van Gent of the Netherlands is set to quit after the ongoing Men’s hockey junior World Cup due to family commitments. For van Gent, who has been a key figure in the Indian hockey team’s think tank, it was a tough decision to choose between his demanding job and family.

“Yes, I am quitting after this tournament. It is my last assignment with Indian hockey,” van Gent said on the sidelines of the 16-nation hockey junior World Cup.

“It was a tough decision for me but my family needs me because we are going through some difficult times,” he said.

For van Gent, who joined his India assignment in November 2015, the 13-month journey has been a pleasant one. “It was a wonderful journey though a short one. It was bliss to see the way Indian hockey is progressing with every passing day. From 13th in the world we rose to sixth. Roelant (Oltmans), other coaching staff and I formed a great team. We were just like family. I have already started missing the team,” he said.

Asked whether any external factor was behind his resignation, van Gent answered in the negative and said it was an emotional decision not only for him but the entire team.

“After the end of the Australia tour recently, when I told the senior team players that I am leaving they were shell shocked. They just couldn’t believe,” he said.

In his last assignment with Indian hockey, van Gent hopes to end on a high note by winning gold in the ongoing hockey Junior World Cup.

“I can’t ask for a better send off. When we started the tournament we just had one goal to win the gold here and I just hope we achieve our goal. But it won’t be easy as the competition is very tough,” the Dutchman said.

The Dutchman, however, did not rule out the possibility of returning for a short-term role.

“I am not coaching any other side. Right now my priority is my family but I don’t rule out returning to coaching in future. Even I have told Roelant and Hockey India and Narinder Batra that if they need my services anytime I am ready,” van Gent said.

In his role in India, van Gent was assisting chief coach Oltmans. Van Gent embarked on his coaching career after securing the International Hockey Federation (FIH) high performance coaching qualification in 2000. Ever since, he has worked with various domestic teams in the Netherlands.

He himself has been a part of the MEP in Boxtel club in the head division of Netherlands for a decade (1978-88).

As a FIH high-performance coach, he also worked with the Kenyan men’s team in 2007.