Japan's up-and-coming star looks to play in Italy while in college
Japan's rising star Ran Takahashi helped his country reach the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games quarterfinals for the first time in 29 years this summer. The Japan Volleyball Association organised an online press conference following the Games and Takahashi expressed his wish to play in the Italian League while attending college at the Nippon Sport Science University.
The young wing spiker turned 20 on September 2 and is already looking ahead to Paris 2024. He believes an overseas experience will help him to improve his level of play.
"I was greatly inspired by Italian player (Alessandro) Michieletto, who is my contemporary. I am thinking about what would be the best places to play in the world and I would like to go to Italy. There are only three years to go before the Paris Olympics," said Takahashi.
Takahashi thinks that an overseas challenge would be good for him. His compatriots Yuki Ishikawa, Yuji Nishida and Masahiro Sekita have all signed to play outside Japan this season.
His role model, captain Ishikawa, played in Italy while attending Chuo University. Now a fully-fledged professional, Ishikawa is one of Powervolley Milano's key players. Nishida will play for Tonno Callipo Calabria Vibo Valentia in the Italian League, while Sekita will play for Cuprum Lubin in the Polish League this season.
"To want to conquer the world without knowledge of what the world is like is pointless. So it would be good to have a bigger number of players who play in top overseas leagues. I think they come back well-motivated," said Takahashi.