FIVB Women's World Olympic Qualification Tournament 2012 | Japan

Press release

Japanese duo set to play key role in Tokyo


Japan's Yoshie Takeshita will be key as her side get ready to battle for a ticket to the London 2012 Olympic Games

Tokyo, Japan, May 19, 2012 – Setter Yoshie Takeshita and outside hitter Saori Kimura are expected to play key roles as Japan embarks on another women’s volleyball battle on home soil.

The dynamic duo represents the heart and soul of the squad set to take on seven other national teams for the last four remaining spots in the women’s volleyball tournament at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Serbia, Russia, Cuba and Peru are joining Japan, Thailand, Korea and Chinese Taipei for a round-robin competition which runs from May 19 to 27 with two days of rest at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

The event doubles as the Asian Continental Olympic Qualifier and the top three teams and the best Asian team will earn a berth for the Games in the British capital next July.

Japan’s coach Masayoshi Manabe recognizes the importance of both players as the home side attempts to qualify for a record 11th occasion in the quadrennial event.

“These two players have key roles in our team because both combine ability and experience,” Manabe said. “Both have been in two Olympics and this would be their third time, which is very important for their careers.”

Takeshita, 34, the Most Valuable Player and best setter at the 2006 FIVB World Championship, stands only 1.59 meters but has cat-like agility and is considered one of the most accomplished players in her position. She also took home the honours as the best setter at the 2008 and 2009 FIVB World Grand Prix.

She was only 10 years old when started to play volleyball and her nickname in Japanese means “world’s smallest and strongest setter."

“She brings a lot of energy and offers a pretty good show to the fans with her ability,” commented the legendary Mireya Luis, who is in Japan as team manager of Cuba. “She is a key spectacular player for her Japan team.”

Kimura who turns 26 next August and stands at 1.85 meters is considered one of the most complete players in the world.

The versatile athlete is capable of playing any position but stands out as a prolific attacker and accurate server whose awards include the best scorer at the 2010 FIVB World Grand Prix.

Japan is the highest ranking team among the eight sides competing as they sit third in the world rankings, but the real chance of making it to London hangs heavily on the tandem of Takeshita and Kimura.


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