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Murakami and Ishii are the two stars for Japanese volleyball
May 27, 2021, 5:40:00 AM

Murakami and Ishii are the two stars for Japanese volleyball

With the Tokyo Olympics on the horizon, Japan finally has representatives for their beach volleyball team in Megumi Murakami and Miki Ishii. The duo won the nation’s Olympic trials at the Tokyo Dome on the 23rd of May.

Murakami and Ishii are veterans of the scene as they’re 31 and 35 years of age respectively. They beat Chiyo Suzuki and Yurika Sakaguchi in the final in two sets. This was payback for Ishii and Murakami as they were beaten by the same duo back in the first round. 

The new representatives are the top-ranked Japanese duo in the FIVB World Rankings as they’re ranked 32nd in the world. They’ve been playing together since 2015 which was the first time that they tried to make it to the Games. 

After the match, Murakami talked about how much this means to the duo. 

‘We formed the team to qualify for the Tokyo Games’, she said. ‘The Olympics are just two months away now and we want to show the world all we have worked on in practice’.

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Japan is a dark horse in the Olympics

People tend to bring up Brazil and the United States in the best volleyball nations discussions. However, they don’t know that Japan is quietly one of the best nations in the world. They have a good culture that is centred around development which can be seen in stars like Yūki Ishikawa and Yūji Nishida. 

On the beach volleyball side, both Murakami and Ishii are the two best stars on that side of the fence. People mostly forget about the beach volleyball side but they are one of the best performers in the sport. Brazil and the US gain the plaudits of fans around the world but they’re filled to the brim with talent which has led to some players losing motivation.

Japan is a dark horse in the Games as people don’t notice them. They will be surprised when both Murakami and Ishii perform at their peak level in the event. It will be hard to contain them given that they’re ready. 

The duo is ready to win

One of the biggest factors that people tend to forget with pro athletes is their willingness to win. That is the case here with Murakami and Ishii as they want to win for themselves and the country that they’re playing for. 

Ishii talked about this after the match as she said, ‘We want to win a medal at the Olympics. We know it’s a difficult thing to do, but we’re confident that people will be able to see how hard we’ve been working for it. It will be a great experience for our team’.

It should not come as a surprise that they can win gold and people will take notice of their skills and power compared to the rest of the world. 

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Words: Cholo Martin

Image: PA