India women hockey coach Sjoerd Marijne was midway to Netherlands when Indian announced nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus. He changed his mind keeping the well-being of his family and team in mind and returned. Also Read - Tamil Nadu Lockdown News: State Extends Shutdown Till October 31 With More Relaxations; Theatres, Parks, Pools, Beaches to Remain Shut
It’s been nearly three weeks now since the lockdown was announced and in all likeliness the period will be extended with encouraging signs that the restrictions are indeed turning out fruitful in combating the deadly virus that has killed over 1,00,000 globally now. Also Read - 1 in 15 People Aged 10 And Above Estimated to be Exposed to SARS-CoV2 by Aug: ICMR Sero Survey
Far away from his family, Marijne is keeping his calm by spending the time productively at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Bengaluru. He continues to train the team and also penning a book of his experience he has had while coaching in the country. Also Read - Actress Yuko Takeuchi Found Dead: After Four Celebrity Suicides, Japan Urges People to Talk About Mental Health
“Like everyone else, I have my difficult moments, not being with my family. I try to keep myself as busy as possible. I am writing a book in the free time I have,” Marijne told PTI. “I have been in India for three and half years and many interesting stuff happened which can be very helpful for coaches and in business life.”
He continued, “I take it day-by-day and don’t look too much ahead. My family is doing well back home and handled the situation very well. A big admiration for my wife about how she is doing this. Not easy always with the children back home and no social life anymore. Without her (support), I couldn’t be here,” he said.
Staying in India way from his family in the time of a global health crisis was surely a difficult call but the 45-year-old says that he also has “a responsibility to the team and India.”
“When I decided to stay back, we were still able to do full training as nation-wide lockdown had not been announced. It’s good the entire core group is together so we can do other things to make this period productive,” he said.
Apart from the training, the players are also working on improving their language skill and been asked to prepare presentations about opponent countries.
“I want to make sure that this time we have, is spent usefully so that once this is all over, we can look back at this period as a productive time spent,” he said. “The girls are also living by the day and do miss their families but they are also thinking of the future. They do a lot of workouts everyday to stay as fit as possible.
“They have also been given tasks like analysing all the opponent countries and make a presentation to us (support staff). We also watch motivational movies like Mary Kom and Dangal. Some girls are learning English by themselves and we have individual video meetings with the players. We try to use the time as productively as possible,” he added.
With the Tokyo Olympics pushed to next year, Marijne reckons it gives everyone an extra year to train.
“It was the best decision as you can read that the number of cases in Japan is also going up. Every country will have one year extra to train, we have a young group so that can be benefit for us.”
Once the lockdown period ends, the the players will take a short break before regrouping for a camp.