FIVB VOLLEYBALL WORLD GRAND PRIX
MEDIA GUIDE 2013
Since winning bronze at the 2012 Olympic Games in
London, Japan’s first Olympic medal since 1984, the
Japan Volleyball Association has put in place a new squad
for the new quadrennial.
Coach Masayoshi Manabe has named ace spiker Saori
Kimura as captain, replacing Erika Araki and while
the team will have plenty of new faces, setter Hitomi
Nakamichi has the big task of filling the shoes left by chief
playmaker Yoshie Takeshita due to retirement.
Key playmakers Saori Sakoda, who top scored in Japan’s
Olympic bronze medal victory over Korea, and Yukiko
Ebata are included.
In May, Manabe’s team started their first training camp for
the season in Tokyo followed by another in Switzerland
before taking part in the Montreux Volley Masters, a
tournament they won in 2011, where they finished fifth.
With the more experienced players not present, the
younger members of the squad took advantage of the
opportunity to obtain much valued game time.
Although Manabe’s squad have their eyes on following
up on their bronze medal performance in London with
another medal at the 2016 Olympic Games as well as
advancing on their 2010 World Championship bronze
Masayoshi Manabe has been coach
of the Japan women’s national team
since 2008, taking them to a bronze
medal at the 2012 London Olympic
Games (their last Olympic medal
dated back to the Los Angeles 1984
Olympics). In 2011, he led the team
to fourth place at the FIVBWorld Cup, and while the team
missed out on a medal, they succeeded in beating Brazil
and the United States – a remarkable record for the Japan
women’s national team.As an athlete, Manabe played for
Japan’s domestic league from 1986 to 2004 and also for
Iveco Palermo club in Italy in 1999. As a setter for the
national team, he took part in the Seoul Olympics in 1988
as well as the World Cup and Men’s World Championship.
medal – Japan’s first World Championship medal since
of more immediate concern is the improvement
of their World Grand Prix record, especially with the Finals
being on home soil in Sapporo this year. As one of only
two countries – the other being China – to have played
in all 21 editions of the tournament, the world No. 3 has
never stepped on the podium with a best result of fourth
dating back to 1997 and 1994.