VNL 2024 - News

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After a third-place finish at the Olympic Qualifier, Japan will regroup and fight for the Olympic berth in the VNL

Japan women’s national team officially started its preparations for the 2024 international season with the announcement of the 24 players selected by head coach Masayoshi Manabe to form their squad over the next few months.

The Japanese will start their season in the Volleyball Nations League 2024, where they will try to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

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Ahead of the Japanese national team since 2022, when he started his second stint, Manabe preserved the core of the roster that represented Japan in 2023 as 12 of the 14 players that appeared in their most recent official tournament, the Volleyball Olympic Qualifying Tournament, were brought back.

The list contains 22 players who currently feature for clubs competing in the country’s V. League, which ended last weekend, including star outside hitter and team captain Sarina Koga, who earned the tournament’s MVP award after she led her team NEC Red Rockets to their second straight national title.

The two athletes who feature for clubs overseas are setter Tamami Matsui, who’s with Unilife Maringá in Brazil, and star outside hitter Mayu Ishikawa, who’s having a strong first season in the Italian 2023-2024 Lega Pallavolo Femminile Serie A Tigotà with Il Bisonte Firenze.

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Japan looking for Olympic berth

After they finished third in last year’s Volleyball Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Japan are still looking to qualify for the Paris 2024 Games, which would mark their sixth-straight appearance in the Olympics.

In order to book their tickets to the French capital in July, the Japanese need to be one of the five best-ranked teams not yet qualified for the Games in the FIVB Volleyball World Ranking at the conclusion of the VNL Preliminary Phase – or the highest-ranked Asian side as the continent has no representatives guaranteed so far. Japan are currently in ninth place in the rankings and are third among the national teams still attempting to qualify, behind Italy and China.

The Asians will start their VNL campaign in Antalya, Türkiye, where they will face the hosts, Bulgaria, Germany and Poland from May 15-19.

Before getting on the court in the VNL, the team, which already started preparations last week, will have domestic training camps in Tokyo and Kagoshima, as well as international ones in Anaheim, the United States, and Antalya. The Japanese will also feature in the inauguration match of a new volleyball stadium in Ishikawa on April 14.

Japan women’s national team 2024 roster (subject to eligibility check to be conducted by the FIVB):

Setters: Nanami Seki, Koyomi Iwasaki, Tamami Matsui, Tsukasa Nakagawa
Opposite: Yukiko Wada
Outside Hitters: Kotona Hayashi, Sarina Koga, Mayu Ishikawa, Mizuki Tanaka, Arisa Inoue, Okumu Oba Fuyumi Hawi, Ai Kurogo, Miwako Osanai, Yoshino Sato
Middle Blockers: Aya Watanabe, Nichika Yamada, Airi Miyabe, Shiro Hirayama, Ayaka Araki, Hiroyo Yamanaka
Liberos: Akane Yamagishi, Manami Kojima, Keimi Fukudome, Yanami Nishimura

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