London 2012


Sakoda soars during Japan’s bronze medal victory

Japanese women's volleyball team celebrates their bronze medal win Saturday over Korea, 3-0 at Earls Court during the final days of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

London, Great Britain, August 10, 2012 – Japan roared to a 3-0 victory over Korea Saturday to earn the bronze medal in women’s volleyball before 13,500 fans at Earls Court at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Giving the winning Japan its first Olympic medal in women’s volleyball since Los Angeles 1984, Japan’s Saori Sakoda soared as the top scorer in the match with 23 points.

Following his team’s victory, Japan coach Masayoshi Manabe said, “Teamwork was the key to our victory. Our Players performed extremely well. My brain got so empty when the match was over. I have tried many different things in the last three and a half years, I have put tough training to them too. But I think I could have given some pleasure to them by this victory. Today was the last day of the last three and a half years. Of course we needed to think of win or lose but I let them enjoy the particular last day of these Olympics.”

Regarding Sakoda’s play, Coach Manabe said, “She was absolutely the best. I am very satisfied with her performance today.”

Japan’s Sakoda was very talkative following the bronze medal match, even wearing the no. 13 jersey of an extra player (Ishida) that the team is very fond of into the media mixed zone. "This win is very special to our team for many reasons but one of the big ones is because it has been almost 30 years since our last Olympic medal in women's volleyball. I'm part of the team and I had a lot of points today, but I wouldn't have been in a position to get them if it weren't for the play around me of my teammates.  I want to help them just like they want to help me and today we helped each other."

Sakoda continued, "The bronze medal means many different things to us. We are proud to represent Japan and to give our country another medal in the Olympics. We want our country to enjoy this medal with us and we want it to be an example for younger players of what they can achieve."

Speaking about pre-game and her performance, Sakoda said, "We had fear and nerves previous to the game. However we wanted to turn it into concentration and it worked. We worked very well together. This is my first Olympics. I wanted to put on a good performance to help contribute towards the team."

Japan’s Yoshie Takeshita reflected on her third Olympic Games, saying, “I feel that I finally reached to the medal. I also feel that it was good to wrap up the Olympics with the victory. We think that we all individually worked hard and believed in ourselves. That made the difference today. It was not only the setting, we all played well. My role is to help underneath the base and I did it today. The Olympic medal is the best moment of all.”

At the post-match media conference, Korea’s coach Kim Hyung Sil commented, “Thanks to the Korean team for their motivation, commitment and performance in the preliminaries and all the way through to the last match. In Kim Yeon-Koung we have one of the world’s best players. She’s playing in Turkey (club volleyball) and she has reached world class. She has increased Korean volleyball to the next level.”

Korea’s Kim Yeon-Koung, who led her team with 22 points in a losing effort, said afterwards, “I believe that throughout the match Korea played at a high level. There were some areas that we didn’t do well and some areas that we did. For those areas that we didn’t do well, we will try to improve on the to do better next time, and for the areas that we did well, we will continue to build on our strengths.”

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