Yuji is a fighter and a believer, and he wants to prove that no one enters a competition to finish last
Being the showman in Japan’s power trio, Yuji Nishida is quite vocal about winning, but he follows it up with action.
“I’m carrying the Japanese flag. I’m very happy to play in front of a lot of people and I think being able to enjoy winning together with everyone is a big part of it,” the 23-year-old opposite said.
He had no specific moment that inspired him to become an Olympian, but his strong will to win opened a part of him that he never knew existed.
“I don’t have that specific moment realizing when I wanted to be an Olympian, but I’m very happy to be in a very big stage like that (Tokyo 2020). I am also very happy to compete as a member of the national team. I knew I only wanted to win, and I was particular about good results and good ranking. That feeling became stronger after I was named as part of the Olympic team,” he shared.
The show-stopping left-handed hitter has come a long way from having no main motivation to a patriotic athlete whose desire is to put his country on top of the Olympic podium. And those Tokyo 2020 moments gave him the drive and wisdom that most players do not have at that young age.
“There have not been many instances where Japan men’s team have represented in the Olympics, so I was happy to be able to play as the host country. At that time, I wanted to make sure I showed that Japanese volleyball is strong,” he said.
“I think winning Olympic gold is proof of what you can do. It confirms where you’ve come from. Just by having it or not having it, I think your level as a human being or as a player is completely different. Even if you only have one, it can broaden your horizon as a player.”
With that Olympic medal perspective, Nishida expressed the team’s determination to be at Paris 2024. But before they could do that, they have to face their volleyball friends and foes. He also mentioned that keying in success and unlocking more magic in the team would require having great communication within it.
At the Paris Qualifier, Japan will host Pool B from September 30 to October 8. Among their toughest opponents are 2023 VNL runners-up United States and European powerhouse Slovenia, along with Serbia, Türkiye, Tunisia, Egypt and Finland.
“Even in the VNL, we’ve never won against USA. We definitely have the desire to win in the Paris Qualifier. As for Slovenia, they have (Tine) Urnaut who…