Japanese pro players return to Cebu

JAPANESE pro beach volleyball players are back in Cebu to train for the FIVB World Tour on Dec. 9-14 in South Africa.

Pro volleyball players Takemi Nishibori and Sayaka Mizoe and coach Yoshihiro Atsumi, are back in Cebu for a second stint. They first trained here for the FIVB World Tour in China last April.

“This is the last phase of our training. We love it here since the weather is good and the people here are very accommodating,” the 33-year old Nishibori told Sun.Star Cebu in an interview during their afternoon practice session at Fort San Pedro sand court last Thursday.

The 5’10” Mizoe, however, was not able to attend that session because of a fever and decided to sit out the day to recover.

“In Japan, it is in the middle of winter and it is very cold for us. So we had to find an alternative place to train. And we picked Cebu because of the hospitality of the people and you have a good sand court as well,” Atsumi said. “Eric Lecain is a good friend of mine, and we have contacted through the internet that brought us here for the first time in February.

Lecain, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) beach volley consultant, said that he is hoping the presence of these international campaigners will help the local players learn something.

“The great thing about foreign players coming here, they are exposing their training regime to the locals. If you are exposed to good players, there is a tendency you will become good, and I hope it will rub off on our youngsters,” said Lecain, while looking at the tune-up match between the Japanese and the locals.

Nishibori, Mizoe and Coach Atsumi, were joined by Ayumi Kusano and Megumi Murakami when they arrived on Nov. 28. But Kusano and Murakami went home this week because they have to attend a scheduled training session in Japan.

“The first time they were here, there were only three Japanese, but two were added in their second visit. We hope we can invite more foreign players,” Lecain added.

Lecain said he is planning to invite the Japanese men’s national team, and squads from Australia and New Zealand.

“The Filipinos we played against are good players. I think what they need is more national and international competitions and with more training, they can be greater,” said Nishibori.

Also present on the field was the University of the Philippines-Foundation volleyball coach Jason Gabales, who said he learned a lot of things by just observing the work ethics and the plays of the Japanese.

“I have learned their defensive formations, the time management and the systematic way of training. These are way different than what we usually see from the local players,” said Gabales, who also served as a tune-up player for the Japanese. “As a coach it is a privileged to me to be exposed to foreign players, because I can also share and apply the things I have learned to the training of my student-athletes.”

After the training here, the beach volleyball duo will directly fly to South Africa for the competition.

“The training is doing well, and we hope we can get good results in the coming tournament,” Nishibori said. “I am planning to come back here this month for training and maybe spent some time in the beach for a vacation, but it is not certain yet.”

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