Tokyo 2020: Japan confident of home success

Goalball captain Yoshu Nobusawa shares team’s plans 20 Sep 2018
a group of male goalball players standing in a circle laughing

Japan men's goalball team are confident of home success at Tokyo 2020

ⒸRyo Ichikawa

“We will train our defense until we reach the top level. The only goal is to win a gold medal.”

Japan’s goalball captain Yoshu Nobusawa has 24 months to turn his team into a medal winning side – and that is exactly what he intends to do by the time of their home Paralympic Games at Tokyo 2020.

Speaking with less than two years to go until the next Games, Nobusawa was clear that Japan are working hard.

“We will work on repetitive and precise practice. We will build a Japanese style tactic,” he said.

The Japanese men made their World Championships debut in 2002 in Spartanburg, USA, but their qualification since has been patchy.

They have however competed at every Asia-Pacific Championships since the first edition in 2010, and have finished on the podium at all but one edition.

Nobusawa aims to capitalise on the fact that his team will receive a guaranteed spot in Tokyo as the hosts. Naturally there is also investment being made into the sport ahead of the Paralympics.

“We will train our defense until we reach the top level,” he said, going on to suggest that there are new players also coming into the side. “The new strength of the Japanese team is very fulfilling.”

They practice four days per month. Nobusawa himself still trains at the gym in the school where he was first introduced to the sport by a teacher when he was 15.

A highly motivated athlete, his determined attitude and clear aspirations may make all the difference when it comes to 2020.

“The only goal is to win a gold medal,” he said.

Ten men and 10 women’s teams will line-up for Tokyo 2020 including Brazil, Germany and Belgium in the men’s who qualified at the 2018 IBSA Goalball World Championships.