Carlos “Chapa” Retegui, triple Olympic medalist as coach of the Argentine women’s and men’s field hockey teams, pointed to next year’s World Cup in Spain and the Netherlands “as the new challenge” for Las Leonas and described it as a “superlative sum” the eventual incorporation of Luciana Aymar in some sphere of that sport.
“We are ten months away from the World Cup in Spain and the Netherlands, it is our next big goal and we think it is very important to make a preparation like the one we did for Tokyo,” said Retegui in dialogue with the Télam agency.
In addition, Retegui, 51, admitted feeling “enormous pride” for having won three Olympic medals with different national teams (silver with Las Leonas in London 2012 and Tokyo 2021 and gold with the men’s team in Rio de Janeiro 2016).
In his previous cycles at the helm of Las Leonas, Retegui obtained the title in the Rosario World Cup (2010), the Champions Trophy also in Rosario (2012), the silver medal in the London Olympic Games (2012); bronze at the World Cup in The Hague (2014) and the Champions Trophy in Sydney (Australia) 2009; Nottingham (England) 2010 and Rosario 2012.
Retegui, who participated as a player in three Olympic Games (Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004), was also a multiple Pan American medalist: gold in Havana 1991, Mar del Plata 1995 and Santo Domingo 2003 and silver in Winnipeg 1999.
The Lionesses – world champions in Perth (Australia) 2002 and Rosario 2010 – obtained the silver medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games, as well as in Sydney 2000 and London 2012, and also achieved the bronze medals in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 .
-How does it feel to be a triple Olympic medalist as a coach?
-It is enormous pride. Three Olympic finals in a row with different teams is an honor, a reward for work and commitment; to put the heart and the reason in everything, always, and it is total peace, because success is not winning three medals in a row. Success is giving everything every second, wherever it may be.
-What will you do with the men’s team? What is your idea?
-I have to move away from men’s hockey, which has to find other references that can lead this project. I think the affection and affection I have for the Olympic champion players and the one they have for me is much more important. And in a decision-making role that can break down.
-Aren’t you willing to bear it?
-That’s something that I’m not going to allow to happen for the world. So, the most logical and coherent thing is that the new leadership project, surely, is led by the Olympic champions themselves and by people with the ability to carry it forward.
-Getting to the Tokyo Games was very complex for all athletes due to the inconvenience caused by the pandemic. What new challenges did you set for yourself after winning the silver medal?
-I am going to put my energy into the women’s hockey project. We are going to make a Sub-14, Sub-16 of Argentina, plus the Sub-21 that we already have, the senior team and see well in what role I will continue. That is more than clear.
-You highlighted the humility and low profile of the team that won the silver medal in Tokyo.
-The team was low profile, it left its egos in Buenos Aires, as one of its referents said. It is very clear that he achieved an objective that we had set ourselves, but as the head of the national teams I have a more pluralistic objective and not only the Olympic medal: that there are more hockey players in Argentina, more fields, more institutions that implement our sport and that we can achieve a high-performance center for hockey that, to this day, we do not have.
-Several players who made up the Tokyo team will continue their careers in Europe. How will you handle that?
-We found out at the end of Tokyo that six or seven players of the young women on the squad are going to continue their careers in Europe. You have to see if the priority is still the selected one. In the event that this is the case, we will have them and if not, if the priority is the clubs in Europe, we will form a new team.
-A new team?
-There is no doubt that the fact of playing an Olympic Game and winning a silver medal with 13 new players gives us the motivation and the desire that if we have to form a new team we are going to do it. Without any problem.
-What is the goal for the 2022 World Cup?
-Yes, we are ten months away from the world cup. So it seems very important to us to do a preparation like the one we did for Tokyo. And with nine or ten players playing in Europe it is unfeasible to do it.
-Will the priority be of the players who are in the country?
-Yes, we are always going to give priority to the girls who are in Argentina, training with us from Monday to Monday. That seems very important to us.
-Luciana Aymar, said last month: “I will always want to be linked to the Argentine National Team in some way or another. They never proposed anything fixed to me, in particular, but I am always open to listen and see how I can help.” Are you interested in him joining the Confederation or some other area of national hockey?
-I talked about it with her many times.
– Could you expand the content of those talks?
-I told her that she has the doors open to find the place that she wants and decides. If she wants to be an assistant, a coach, in a role as team leader, ambassador, in training … It seems to me that the most important thing is that she decides where she wants to be and feels comfortable, she can contribute to the team and Argentine hockey. It seems to me that it would be a superlative sum if he is with us. The place is chosen by her. I think there are athletes of a superlative level who crossed the border, the normal limits of a sport like Guillermo Vilas, Emanuel Ginobili, Luciana Aymar. Paula Pareto, Santiago Lange, Luis Scola. They have to choose where they feel comfortable, where they believe they can contribute everything they have to sport.