Blanc says goal is Olympic medal…’Golden age’ Japan men’s volleyball aims for first medal in 52 years

Japan’s men’s volleyball team, coached by Frenchman Philippe Blanc, will attempt to win its first Olympic medal in 52 years.

The summer of 2024 will bring the Games to Paris. Japan’s men’s volleyball team qualified for the Olympic Games on their own in the Olympic Qualification Tournament, and they are determined to win a medal 52 years after their gold medal in 스포츠토토사이트 Montreal in 1972.

The team is strong, too. Japan is currently ranked fourth in the FIVB world rankings. Behind No. 1 Poland, No. 2 USA, and No. 3 Italy, they are the strongest team in Asia. They are ranked higher than Japan’s women’s volleyball team, which is ranked ninth.

At Tokyo 2020, Japan’s men’s volleyball team also reached the quarterfinals of the tournament for the first time in 29 years since the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. In Paris, they are looking even higher.

According to Japanese media outlet Sports Hochi, Blanc said, “In the main draw of the Paris Olympics, we will fight as a Japanese team, not a French team. It may be special to play the Olympic Games in my home country, but the important thing is to lead the team so that Japan can reach the top four or higher,” he said.

Last year, the team won the bronze medal at the Volleyball Nations League (VNL). It’s likely that the same players from that historic bronze medal will be in Paris. Outside hitters Yuki Ishikawa and Ran Takahashi, who both play in the Italian league, as well as opposites Yuji Nishida and Kento Miyaura, setter Masahiro Sekita and libero Tomohiro Yamamoto, have been named to the 2024 roster. More recently, the team made headlines with the addition of a 204-centimeter middle blocker born in 2000 from Suntory of the Japanese V.League.

Ishikawa and Takahashi are at the center of Japan’s men’s national volleyball team, which has been dubbed the “Golden Age”. Both players currently play in the Italian league for Milan and Monza, respectively. Ishikawa is in a third-place playoff against Trentino, while Takahashi’s Monza is battling Perugia for the league title.

Blanc was promoted to head coach in 2022 after taking over as Japan’s national team coach in 2017. “At the beginning, we needed to communicate to understand each other,” Blanc told Japanese media outlet Yonhap News Agency. We had frequent video meetings and communicated in English to build trust,” he said, adding, “We also avoided the long training sessions we had been used to.”

“The Japanese team improved their efficiency by practicing intense drills in a short period of time,” the outlet said. They have grown in all aspects, with powerful serves, a variety of attacks, and a defense system that is linked to blocking.”

Nishida, who returned to Japan after playing in the Italian league, said, “We are only looking at the gold medal. We want to prepare properly and go out with a bang,” Nishida said.

Meanwhile, Blanc will be officially appointed as the head coach of Hyundai Capital of the Korean V-League after the Paris Olympics in August.

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