South Korea eliminated the Asian quarter → advanced to the Czech League…”Japan’s goal is to be strong every year,”

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“We aim to be stronger every year.”

Panasonic Panthers outside hitter Takahiko Imamura participated in the 2023 Korea Volleyball Federation Asian Quarter Draft held on Jeju Island in late April.

However, the result accepted by Imamura was eliminated. He did his best to win the nomination in the two-day practice game, but failed to win the nomination from seven clubs. It is regrettable to think that Riyohei and Otake Issei, who ate rice cookers at Panasonic, were nominated by KEPCO and Woori Card, respectively.

Imamura did not get frustrated and immediately found a new destination. Imamura, who has never left the team since making his debut at Panasonic in 2019, is loaned to Cladno Balletball in the Czech League for the 2023-24 season.
Imamura said on the club’s website, “From the time I started joining Panasonic, I had a strong desire to play volleyball abroad. Given Panasonic’s situation, he thought this was the only time he could transfer. So he actively cooperated with the team to prepare for V-League tryouts and overseas transfers.” At the same time, he said, “With the support of coach Laurent Tilly and teammates, I was able to have the opportunity to challenge overseas. I will fully show what I can do now with a strong feeling that this is my last chance.”

Imamura, whom I met recently, laughed and said, “Even after being eliminated in the Asian Quarter, I continued to fight and spent time.” In October he is due to move on to the Czech Republic.”

Panasonic is participating as an overseas invited team in the 2023 Gumi-Dodram Cup professional volleyball tournament currently being held in Gumi, North Gyeongsang Province. In the first game against Hyundai Capital, they won 3-0 and announced a good start. Imamura, along with Kunihiro Shimizu, scored 13 points, the most for both teams, in what was likely the last tournament before moving to the Czech Republic.

Imamura said, “I’m very happy. Winning is better than the process and content of the game. He thinks all the players worked hard. Korea Electric Power Corp. is also waiting for us, and we will show a good performance in the game.”
Japan’s men’s volleyball has recently been strong, and the 2023 Volleyball Nations League (VNL) has achieved a feat of ranking third for the first time in history following the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Imamura said, “Japanese volleyball aims to become stronger every year. Also, I think the fans’ support has a great influence,” he said with a smile.


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