International Volleyball



Yuki Ishikawa, Ran Takahashi and Yuji Nishida spearhead the squad selected by head coach Philippe Blain

The Japanese will try to return to the podium for the first time since 1972

The 13 players that will represent Japan men’s national team at the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics were announced as the Asian side also revealed their plans of returning home from the French capital with a medal.

Head coach Philippe Blain will head to the Olympics with most of the core that helped the Japanese make a significant leap in international volleyball over the last few years, taking bronze at the Volleyball Nations League 2023 and going up to their current second place in the FIVB World Rankings.

The inclusion of 20-year-old outside hitter Masato Kai, who had good performances in the VNL this season, was probably the most interesting aspect of Blain’s selection, which includes the team’s pillars over the last few years, such as captain Yuki Ishikawa, opposite Yuji Nishida, outside hitter Ran Takahashi, middle blocker Taishi Onodera, setter Masahiro Sekita and libero Tomohiro Yamamoto.

Alongside setter Akihiro Fukatsu, opposite Kento Miyaura and fellow outside hitters Kentaro Takahashi and Shoma Tomita, Kai will be one of just five Olympic rookies in the Japanese roster, which features eight returning players from the Tokyo Games.

“Our biggest goal in Paris is to win a medal and we’ll approach it with great determination,” Ishikawa commented. “We gained a lot of experience since Tokyo and that’s one of our main strengths, alongside our technical skills. We have a month until the Olympics and we’ll prepare the best we can to try and win the gold medal.”

Japan is just the second men’s national team to announce their squad for the Paris Olympics, joining the United States, who revealed their roster on May 10.

The Japanese will know their opponents in the first round of the Paris Games on Wednesday, when the Drawing of Lots for the tournament will take place in Łódź, Poland, the host city of the VNL Finals, at 18:00 local time (16:00 GMT) – click here to watch it live.

Before entirely turning their focus to the Olympics, Japan will play in the VNL Finals, where they will try to win a medal for a second-straight season after taking bronze last year. They face Canada in the quarterfinals, on Thursday, at 17:00 local time (15:00 GMT).

“To win a medal at the Olympics, we’ll need to be at our best physically, technically and tactically” Blain…

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