SPOTLIGHT ON TOKYO
Since the emergence of the Gulf States, Japan has struggled to regain its former glory. It has participated in the Olympic Games four times (1972, 1976, 1984 and 1988) and hosted the World Championship in 1997 – the first to be held outside of Europe. However, Japan has failed to develop within the discipline. Yet in the aftermath of the Japanese World Championship, French handball player Frédéric Volle committed to Suzuka and took command of the squad, swiftly joined by Stéphane Stoeckelin, who was voted the best player in the world. The Japanese were absent from the 2013 and 2015 World Championship, but were welcomed back for the World Championship in France following their 3rd place in Manama in the 2016 Asian Championship. The Japanese coach Masanori Iwamoto, since replaced by the experienced Antonio Carlos Ortega from Spain, chose to prepare for the Asian Championship in November 2015 with matches in Dunkirk and Amien. It was the right thing to do, as he prepared his group for an extended stay in France in January…
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DID YOU KNOW?
In 12 appearances, Japan finished only once in the Top 10, when they were 10th in 1970… in France. Perhaps auspicious, in view of the forthcoming match in France, where the Japanese team weren’t present in 2001?
COACH: Antonio Carlos ORTEGA (Spain)