“Unleashing everything I have”
On June 21, the Japan Volleyball Association announced the athletes selected to compete on Ryujin NIPPON, Japan men’s national volleyball team,. Tatsunori Otsuka, a member of Waseda University’s volleyball team, originally from Rakunan, Kyoto, and a 3rd year student at the School of Sport Sciences, was selected to be part of the 12-person team. He is the first Waseda student, alumni included, to compete at the Olympics in men’s volleyball.
At the time of the announcement, Otsuka was competing as a member of Ryujin NIPPON at the FIVB Volleyball Nations League 2021, which was held in Italy from May 28 to June 27. Otsuka enthusiastically commented on the announcement through the Japan Volleyball Association: “As a member of the 12-person team, I will think about how I can contribute and what my role will be. I will give it my all to ensure we win.” Otsuka also commented on his play style and how he hopes to perform at the Olympics: “I think the way I drive with spikes and use blocks for spikes makes me an offensive player. Rather than try to go above and beyond, I want to contribute to my team by unleashing everything I have.”
In December 2020, the Waseda University volleyball team won its fourth consecutive All Japan Intercollegiate Volleyball Championship, and Otsuka played a central role in this victory. First selected for Ryujin NIPPON in 2020, Otsuka commented that “my experience has allowed me to grow significantly.” That Otsuka has achieved his dream of competing at the Olympics is a testament to this growth.