Edmonton, Canada, July 21, 2019 – The FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour four-star event in Tokyo from July 24-28 will be a very important one to any team with Olympic aspirations as it will serve as the sport’s test event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the Japanese capital.
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For the home teams, however, it will be even more special and probably no Japanese duo will enter the event in better spirits than Akiko Hasegawa and Azusa Futami as the veterans posted their best-ever World Tour result at the three-star Edmonton Open, when they secured a bronze medal following a 21-19, 21-17 victory over Australia’s Becchara Palmer and Nicole Laird.
“This is our best result so far and we’re super happy,” an excited Hasegawa exclaimed. “We came to this tournament to get a good match rhythm for the Tokyo event next week and we’re very excited that our performances here will help us to be ready for it because we know the bar will be set one level higher there.”
The 33-year-old Hasegawa and the 27-year-old Futami have been together in the World Tour since 2017 and they had a second-place finish in an event in Agadir, Morocco, in that same season as their best result before their podium appearance in Edmonton.
The Japanese are entered to play in the qualifiers of next week’s test event but they are hopeful that the 480 Olympic qualification points will help them on their journey to represent their country at the sport’s biggest stage next summer.
“The Japanese Federation will select the teams based on the six best results during the Olympic qualification process and we’re in the mix right now,” Hasegawa explained. “We’re very happy about this finish because these points will help us to be in a better position in that process.”