Former Australian hockey Olympian Neil Hawgood has been appointed Head Coach of the Indian Senior Women’s team. The 50-year-old aims to make the team a consistent performer at the international level and help it qualify for the 2014 Women’s World Cup and be a threat on the international stage, not just a number at tournaments.
“I want to create an environment where athletes and coaches can see that they want to be a part of what is happening with this programme as we strive to be the best team in Asia, which means we will be getting closer to being a threat on the world stage,” said Hawgood, who scored five goals in seven matches in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul and has rich coaching experience.
Alongwith the appointment of Neil Hawgood, Hockey India has also appointed Ben Dascombe as Exercise Physiologist of the Indian Senior Women’s team. Dr. Ben has worked with Neil for more than two years at Western Australian Institute of Sport (WAIS) and helped Women Hockey team of WAIS to win the AHL championship.
Hockey India Secretary-General Dr Narinder Batra said Neil Hawgood and Ben Dascombe’s appointment is a step towards raising the bar for the Senior Women’s team. “We believe that with his holistic approach to coaching, our players will know what is needed to be international players and collectively as a team not only on the field but also off the field,” he said.
Neil and Ben arrived New Delhi today and will be joining camp of Senior Women Team at Bhopal on Tuesday.
Hawgood said he watched the India Junior Women compete in the Junior Women’s Asia Cup in Bangkok where the team won silver for the first time and looked forward to his new assignment. “One of the first challenges I see is combining the planning of the Junior Team along with the Senior
Women team’s goals. With a good number of the juniors in the senior’s squad, this balance will be vital to the progression of the senior team as well as allowing the Junior team to prepare for the 2013 Junior World Cup,” he said.
“My vision is to enhance an already attractive style of hockey that will balance out the attacking ability – and that that is naturally within this group – and to have a defensive side of the game that is as well respected as our attacking side. This accountability at both ends of the field is one area that is of high importance,” Hawgood said.
The coach said he will aim to increase the players’ fitness levels, with a specific hockey conditioning programme that will allow the National team to continue with its attacking style and have a belief that it can compete with the world’s best teams consistently. “I want the team to not just win a game every now and then or play well in one half and fade away in the second,” he said.
Hawgood’s coaching career spans across both men and women’s hockey at the international level. He was Assistant Coach to the Australian Women’s team at the 2006 and 2010 World Cup and at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. He was also assistant coach with the men’s team from 2001 to 2004 at Champions Trophies and coached the Australia A team in a four-Nation tournament in
Australia featuring India Pakistan and Australia. For the last eight years, he has been Coach at the West Australian Institute of Sport, developing athletes to play for Australia. There are currently five players in the Australian squad of 16 for the London Olympic Games who were trained under him.
Hockey India Press Release