Olympic Games Tokyo 2020: Spotlight on Japan

In the latest of our Olympic Spotlight series, we focus our attention on Tokyo 2020 hosts Japan, whose men’s and women’s teams are hoping to inspire the nation’s next generation of hockey players with their performances on home soil at the Oi Hockey Stadium. 

Japan’s women claimed a remarkable gold medal success at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, meaning that The Cherry Blossoms had effectively qualified for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 twice over, adding to the ticket already awarded as the host nation. The Asian Games victory – where they defeated higher-ranked India in the competition final – will have given the Cherry Blossoms a real taste for success, something they will be determined to replicate on home soil in Tokyo.

Like their women, Japan’s men already had a ticket to Tokyo 2020 before they stepped onto the field at the 2018 Asian Games. However, that did not stop The Samurais from earning an outright ticket by claiming gold ahead of four higher-ranked teams in India, Malaysia, Pakistan and Korea. It was an astonishing achievement for the team coached by former Dutchman Siegfried Aikman, who will be looking to weave his magic with the team as they target a podium place on home soil.

Japan stars Yukari Mano and Manabu Yamashita give their thoughts on the once in a life-time opportunity to take part in a home Olympics.

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