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Harendra Singh returns as coach of Indian women's hockey team

Dronacharya awardee Harendra Singh marked his comeback to Indian hockey as the head coach of the women's national team.

Harendra Singh returns as coach of Indian womens hockey team

Dronacharya Awardee coach Harendra Singh oversaw the Indian women's hockey team's assessment camp in Bengaluru. 


Pritish Raj

Updated: 9 April 2024 6:13 AM GMT

Delhi: Former Indian hockey player and Dronacharya awardee coach Harendra Singh has been appointed the new head coach of the Indian women's hockey team.

Harendra replaced Dutch coach Janneke Schopman, who resigned last month after the team failed to qualify for the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics and put up a poor show in the FIH Pro League.

Sources familiar with the development told The Bridge that Harendra and Hockey India reached an agreement and he has flown from the USA to join the team in Bengaluru. After his stints with Hockey India in various capacities, Harendra had taken up a fresh assignment with the USA women's team as the head coach.

An official announcement from Hockey India is awaited as the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is in place due to the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The federation has to follow the MCC as their president Dilip Tirkey is contesting the elections from the Sundargarh constituency of Odisha on a Biju Janata Dal ticket.

Last month, Harendra was one of the coaches whom Hockey India interviewed for the vacant position. His appointment looked certain until a roadblock in the form of salary negotiations came.

However, his demand for a salary at par with a foreign coach was met when Hockey India and the Sports Authority of India decided to split it.

Former Indian international, Harendra, who coached India in the past, began his coaching career in 1997. Donning multiple roles in the Indian hockey setup, Harendra coached the senior men's team, junior men's team, and senior women's team.

One of the most notable achievements of Harendra as a coach came in 2016 when the Indian junior men's team won the gold medal at the FIH Men's Junior World Cup.

Several players of that team like Harmanpreet Singh, Krishan Bahadur Pathak, Gurjant Singh, Mandeep Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, and Simranjeet Singh would go on to become the mainstays of the Indian men's hockey team over the years.

Harendra also guided the senior men's team to a bronze medal-winning show in the 2018 Asian Games.

He shifted his base to the USA in 2021 working with the grassroots and their senior teams. Incidentally, the USA team that defeated the Indian women's team in the Olympic qualifiers was guided by Harendra.

The first job of the Dronacharya awardee coach will be to take over the team that is low on morale after failing to qualify for the Olympics and losing their coach Schopman.

With a core group of 33 players being selected ahead of India's FIH Pro League matches in Europe, Harendra Singh's latest stint with Indian hockey has begun.

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