Former India hockey coach's book stirs controversy

The Delhi High Court on Monday granted an ad interim injunction against the release of the book Will Power - The Inside Story Of The Incredible Turnaround In Indian Women's Hockey.

Player Gurjit Kaur claimed the book, authored by former coach of the Indian men's and women's hockey teams Sjoerd Marijne (right) and published by HarperCollins Publishers India, contains information pertaining to her medical condition. She appealed against the order of a single judge of the high court who had allowed the release of the book on Sept 15.

In her appeal, Gurjit claimed the author had divulged confidential information that she shared with him in confidence and it violated the Code of Conduct and Sanctions of Hockey India - to which the author of the book was a signatory.

Her counsel also said there was nothing to show that the information regarding the medical condition was out in the public.

A Division Bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Amit Sharma granted an ad interim injunction restraining Marijne and HarperCollins from publishing the book or any other matter related to it until the next hearing on the matter on Dec 7.

The book had earlier stirred controversy following the Dutchman's accusation that India men's team captain Manpreet Singh asked a young player to under-perform during the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Marijne wrote that senior pro Manpreet asked a player "to stop playing well" so that his friends could get into the team.

It prompted India men's and women's teams to issue a joint statement that the former India coach levelled the allegation against Manpreet to publicise his book.

"We have come together to state our deep disappointment in his (Marijne's) exploitation of our personal information and false accusations. He has used his time of coaching us for commercial gain to sell his book at the cost of our reputations," the players said in the joint statement.

"This is a complete breach of trust and his duty of care as a coach. It also leads to all Indian athletes like us to feel vulnerable in such situations.

"We are in the process of pursuing legal remedies against Mr Sjoerd Marijne and the publishers of the book."

Both the teams pointed out that if said incidents indeed took place, Marijne should have reported the matter to either Hockey India or his erstwhile employer, Sports Authority of India, which he didn't.

"We would like to collectively question Mr Sjoerd Marijne. If any of the claimed incidents took place under his watch, there should be record of an allegation filed to Hockey India or the Sports Authority of India at the time. On checking with the authorities, we have found no such record of complaint," the statement read.

"The Indian national men's and women's hockey teams stand together and will defend our integrity that has been brought to question by him."

Marijne, who has not responded to the charges, coached the Indian men's hockey team for nine months before he was booted following a dismal show at the 2018 Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast. He later took charge of the women's team and led it to a historic fourth place at last year's Tokyo Olympics.

Indo-Asian News Service

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