Captain - Saori Kimura

Saori Kimura started playing volleyball as a child. Her mother used to play and she took Kimura with her to training sessions, sparking her interest in the sport. The outside hitter made her international debut in 2003 in a World Cup match in Japan. She won medals with the national team at the 2006 Asian Games [silver] and 2010 World Championship [bronze]. Kimura is a three-times Olympian. She played at the Games in 2004, 2008 and 2012, and won a bronze medal with the team at London 2012. She is an experienced World Grand Prix campaigner, and was named Best Scorer at the 2010 edition and was winner of a silver medal in 2014.

At club level in Japan, she was named Rookie of the Year in the 2005/06 V Premier League, and Most Valuable Player of the 2009/10 V Premier League. In 2013 she released '232 Days in Turkey', a book of photographs about her time playing volleyball in Turkey.

Star Player - Sarina Koga

Sarina Koga made her international debut in 2013 against Italy in Alassio, Italy. In the same year she featured in the Youth World Championship as part of the Japan team that finished fifth. She was the second top scorer in the Japan team during the 2015 World Grand Prix, in which the team reached the Final Six and eventually finished sixth.

Koga began playing volleyball alongside her sister in her second year of primary school, with the siblings being influenced by their mother who was playing the sport at the time. Such was the importance of her formative volleyball years in school that she believes her high school coach is the most influential person in her career. His coaching clearly had results, as she received the Most Valuable Player Award and the Best Scorer Award at the 2012 Asian Youth Girls Championship in Chengdu, China.

The 19-year-old outside hitter lists her hero as Japanese volleyball player Saori Kimura, with whom she will line up during the competition here in Japan. The pair also played together at the 2015 World League, when Kimura captained the side.


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