‘Crazy’ crowd amazes Dutch winners

Jereon Hertzberger has played the Champions Trophy and the Olympics. He has been part of the Dutch national hockey side for some time now and played all over the world....

Written by Uthra Ganesan | Chandigarh | Published:February 10, 2009 2:31 pm

Jereon Hertzberger has played the Champions Trophy and the Olympics. He has been part of the Dutch national hockey side for some time now and played all over the world,but the Man of the Tournament at the Gold Cup cannot help being amazed by India and the crowds that turn up to support their sportsmen.

“It motivates you to play really well,you feel like competing against so many people,” he says. “You get to know you are playing well when the crowds go quiet. When I score and silence them,that helps me listen and understand my team mates better!” he laughs.

On his first ever visit to the country,Hertzberger is glad he could help his team win the title and end up being the highest scorer in the meet,but the biggest high for him has been to play in front of 25,000 screaming people.

“This is amazing,everything is perfect here. The weather’s perfect,the competition is perfect,the crowds are crazy — they are crazy about the game and their team,this crowd proves that Indians love their teams,whether they play cricket or hockey,” says Hertzberger.

‘Passionate public’

That he knows about cricket is surprising,given that the game isn’t too big in Holland. But then,Hertzberger is no newcomer to the world of sports. That,though,does not stop him from getting all wide-eyed about Indian conditions. “Well,we do get 20,000 people during the Olympics but they aren’t this loud. The public here is passionate and completely with their team,they are like an added player in the Indian side,” he says,adding that there definitely is a lot of pressure while playing in India.

The amazement with the huge crowd is something he shares with coach Michel Heuvel. Heuvel says he is satisfied with his team and the fact that it was a mix of young and experienced made the tournament a learning experience,adding that he would love to play in India again.

“I would love to come back for the whole atmosphere. Playing in front of so many people,my players were definitely not in the rhythm but they managed to do so well despite India playing a very tight game,so I am satisfied.

“But I feel we did miss our senior players — Taeke Taekema and Teun de Nooijer — because in such a pressure situation as today,in front of such a huge crowd,their experience would definitely have made things easier for the team,” Heuvel said.

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