New Delhi: Australia`s Neil Hawgood, who was part of the 1988 Olympic squad, Monday was appointed the chief coach of India`s women`s hockey team.
The 50-year-old aims to help the team help qualify for the 2014 Women`s World Cup.
"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 (HI) has also appointed Ben Dascombe as exercise physiologist of the Indian Senior Women`s team. Ben has worked with Neil for more than two years at Western Australian Institute of Sport (WAIS). He also played a crucial role in the women hockey team of WAIS winning the AHL championship.
HI secretary-general Narinder Batra said Hawgood and Dascombe`s appointment is a step toward 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.
Hawgood and Ben will be joining the camp in Bhopal Tuesday.
Hawgood said he watched the India junior team compete in the Junior Women`s Asia Cup in Bangkok where the team won silver for the first time.
"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.