Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 6, 2016 - Fans are picking Japan to win the first volleyball match at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games when they play Korea in the tournament opener on Saturday at 09:30 local time.
Of 445 votes so far, nearly 80% pick the London 2012 bronze medallists.
The classic Asian derby will open the competition in women’s Pool A, also featuring the teams of Argentina, Brazil, Cameroon and Russia.
For Japan this is the 12th participation in an Olympic tournament. Since 1964, when volleyball made its debut as an Olympic sport in Tokyo, the Japanese have missed only two editions – Moscow 1980 and Sydney 2000.
Japan are the very first Olympic champions as they triumphed at home in 1964. They followed up with silver medals at Mexico City 1968 and Munich 1972 and then another Olympic gold at Montreal 1976. Later on, to these two gold and two silver medals, the added two bronze medals – from Los Angeles 1984 and from the last edition of the Olympic Games – London 2012.
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Korea’s Olympic record is somewhat more modest as they have taken part in ten editions of the Games so far and won only one medal – bronze at Montreal 1976. The Koreans missed out on Moscow 1980, Barcelona 1992 and Beijing 2008. They finished fourth four years ago in the United Kingdom.
Most recently, Japan and Korea crossed their ways at the World Olympic Qualification Tournament in Tokyo earlier this spring. On May 17, the Koreans celebrated a 3-1 (28-26, 25-17, 17-25, 25-19) victory over their Asian archrivals. Both teams earned their tickets to Rio at that tournament - Japan as the best ranked Asian team and Korea as one of the three world quota.