2004 FIVB WORLD GRAND PRIX

 


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2005 edition
 
JPN/Japan

 
It's been a long time between drinks for a Japanese side still trying to reclaim the glory days of 1960's and 70's.

Olympic Gold in 1964 and 1976, silver in 1968 and 1972 along with World Championship titles in 1962, 1967 and 1974 are a reflection of Japan's power and supremacy 30 years ago but now their national side is hoping to relive those memories with Olympic qualification and a satisfactory performance in Italy.

Something similar to their fifth place finish at the 2003 World Cup would do nicely for the Japanese whose progress was marked at that tournament with notable wins against the likes of Poland, Turkey and Cuba.

Team officials believe the non-participation in the last Olympics was a big setback and this resulted in the appointment by the Japan Volleyball Association to hire present coach Shoichi Yanagimoto in the spring of 2003. Core players remain the same as the previous years but younger talents like the lanky Sachiko Sugiyama (184 cm) are expected to be key players in the World Grand Prix having already shown their star qualities, helping Japan qualify for the 2004 Olympics in Athens by winning the World Olympic Qualification tournament in Tokyo in May.

A 13th-place finish at the 2002 World Championship and a ninth at the 2003 World Grand Prix is a solid platform to build upon and the victory in Tokyo definitely shows that Yanagimoto and his team are heading in the right direction.

Speed and efficiency have always been traits of the Japanese women's team but trying to utilize these assets is still Yanagimoto’s prime objective.

Overall Standings for Japan
Word Grand Prix Played Total Matches played Win Lost % Wins
11 112 33 79 29.46%