international volleyball

Japan men’s volleyball team to use VNL as training ground for Olympics

Philip Matel

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Japan men’s volleyball team to use VNL as training ground for Olympics

STAR. Yuki Ishikawa (14) of the Japanese men's volleyball team.

Volleyball Nations League Facebook page

Led by Yuki Ishikawa, the Japanese men's volleyball team aims to put on a show as it returns to the Philippines for the Manila leg of the Volleyball Nations League

MANILA, Philippines – Japanese men’s volleyball team captain Yuki Ishikawa will use his time in the Philippines wisely as his team gears up for Week 3 of the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) Men to be held at the Mall of Asia Arena from Tuesday to Sunday, June 18 to 23.

Ishikawa is confident that his side can maintain its fifth-place standing, well within the top 8 cutoff for the VNL Finals leg in Poland next week.

“We are so happy to be here again. We played for the last two years and we are doing well. This week is very important for us because after our pool matches, we have the [VNL] finals and the Olympic Games,” Ishikawa told reporters on Monday, June 17, at the Makati Shangri-La.

Japan men’s volleyball team to use VNL as training ground for Olympics

Toting a 6-2 record for 16 points, Japan will face world No. 12 Canada, reigning Olympic champion France, and world No. 5 United States.

Other teams competing in the Manila leg are world No. 4 Brazil, No. 11 Germany, No. 13 Netherlands, and No. 17 Iran.

Japan will also use the experience for its upcoming stint in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“Our goal is we’ll take good lessons to the Olympic Games. We’ll do well this weekend,” Ishikawa said.

Japan is one of seven teams already qualified for the Paris Games, with five more expected to make the Olympics through the VNL.

The others are host France, Germany, Brazil, USA, Poland, and Canada.

In the meantime, all that matters for Japan is keeping its hold on a VNL podium spot, with the team finishing third behind Poland and the United States in 2023.

“Now we are preparing well, everybody here. I had some lapses in the first week and in the second and third weeks, I came back and joined [the team]. We have to think always [about the] big games and we have to play well,” said Ishikawa.

Filipino fans have shown the Japanese squad some love as Manila hosts the VNL for the third consecutive year.

“We are so excited to play here in front of Filipino fans. We will do our best to really show our best volleyball. I can’t wait to play in front of Filipino fans,” said Ishikawa. – Rappler.com

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