Expanded Japanese Olympic Softball Team opens training camp at Tokyo 2020 venue Yokohama Stadium

Wearing their new red uniforms, the Japanese National Team took the field after a nine-month pause. A total of 20 players will compete for the 15-athlete Olympic roster.
An expanded Japanese National/Olympic Women’s Softball Team held their first training session on Tuesday at the Yokohama Stadium, the main venue of the Tokyo 2020 softball and baseball competitions. A total of 18 players trained together for the first national team activity in nine months due to the pandemic. Japan’s top 20 softballers are aiming to make the 15-player Olympic roster and help defend the nation’s gold medal on home soil next year — the squad has two injured players that were not part of the first session.

The Japan National Women’s Softball Team has not been active as a team since the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics for one year, and after cancelling a training camp in March due to the spread of the new coronavirus infection.

Among the 20 players reporting to training was 38-year-old ace Yukiko Ueno, who led Bic Camera Bee Queen to the 2020 Japanese Softball league title a week ago. “We just prepare well with a sense of mission to win the gold medal,” Ueno said.

Reika Utsugi, Japan’s softball coach, said: “I would like to raise the level further to win the gold medal and develop a new strategy. First of all, I want to have fun and create a sense of unity as a team.

“I am thinking of returning to zero and rethinking everything because the Olympics were postponed. All 20 players have a chance (to make the final 15-player roster),” said Utsugi, who won two Olympic medals as a player.

The Japanese National/Olympic Team training camp will run through 25 November, with the next camp scheduled for 1-15 December in Kochi City.

Japanese National Women’s Softball National Team

Yukiko Ueno
Nozomi Ozaki
Misaki Katsumata
Miu Goto
Yukari Hamamura
Yamato Fujita

Haruka Agatsuma
Nayu Kiyohara
Yukiyo Mine

Mana Atsumi
Yuka Ichiguchi
Hitomi Kawabata
Natsuko Sugama
Minori Naito
Yu Yamamoto

Mikiko Eguchi
Nodoka Harada
Sayaka Mori
Saki Yamazaki
Eri Yamada

Credit: WBSC Global Newsletter