[JAPAN SPORTS NOTEBOOK] Who will host the Asian Cup 2023?

After China pulled out as host of the 2023 Asian Cup, a 24-nation event scheduled for June 16 to July 16 in 10 Chinese cities, due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, Japan is considered as a possible replacement host.

China’s withdrawal as host of the tournament was revealed by the Asian Football Confederation on Saturday May 14.

“The AFC recognizes the exceptional circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to the abandonment by [China] of its hosting rights,” it said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Japan Football Association President Kozo Tashima has expressed interest in hosting next year’s Asian Cup in Japan. And after hosting the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics last year and co-hosting the 2002 World Cup with South Korea, Japan has recently gained tangible experience in hosting major international sporting events. This, of course, will be a major selling point for the AFC bosses before a final decision is made.

Kozo Tashima (ⒸSANKEI)

“We were probed,” Tashima said, as quoted by Nikkan Sports, noting that the mainland’s football governing body has contacted the JFA regarding China’s move. “If Japan were able to host, no doubt it would be quite exciting.”

The AFC has not publicly set a timetable for choosing replacement host China, saying the decision will be “chosen in due course”.

The 2023 Asian Games, which were to feature 40 sports, were due to be held in Hangzhou, China, but have been postponed due to rising COVID-19 cases in recent months, including a lockdown in the nearby city of Shanghai.

Takuya Takagi in a 1998 file photo.

Japan have not hosted the Asian Cup since 1992, when they beat Saudi Arabia 1-0 in the final at Hiroshima Big Arch in front of 60,000 spectators. Takuya Takagi scored the only goal in the 36th minute for Dutch coach Hans Ooft’s side.

China was awarded the hosting rights for the 2023 Asian Cup in June 2019.

The Asian Cup has been held every four years since 1956, with the exception of the 2007 event, which took place a year earlier.

Japan added tournament titles in 2000, 2004 and 2011.

Samurai Blue finished runners-up to Qatar at the 2019 Asian Cup, losing 3-1 in the final in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

FC Ryukyu Raises 1 Billion Yen in Crypto Campaign

J.League second division club FC Ryukyu has unveiled a cryptocurrency initiative to raise funds.

Over the past few weeks, the Okinawa-based team raised approximately 1 billion yen (approximately $7.85 million) by selling a crypto asset known as “FC Ryukyu Coin” through Wednesday, May 18. Jiji Press reported.

The cost of one coin is ¥2.2 and 450 million of them have been sold, according to the news agency.

“The funds raised will be used to strengthen the team and develop the ‘FC Ryukyu Socio’ platform which connects fans, players and clubs,” he added. Jiji reported.

Team President Keishiro Kurabayashi spoke about the cryptocurrency fundraising initiative during an online press conference on May 2.

“I want fans and supporters to be more excited about [the club]“, declared the president quoted by Jiji. “I want to set a good example of financial problem solving.”

He added: “In the long term, we want to create a platform that connects Asian clubs and fans.”

Rugby

Sungoliath defeats Brave Lupus to reach League One final

Half of Japan Rugby League One’s inaugural league matches were determined on Saturday, May 21.

Tokyo Suntory Sungoliath defeated Toshiba Brave Lupus Tokyo 30-24 at Hanazono Rugby Stadium in Higashiosaka, Osaka Prefecture.

For the Sungoliath, Ryoto Nakamura scored the last try of the ups and downs in the 59th minute.

The score was 17-17 at halftime.

Suntory will face Sunday’s semi-final winner Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights-Kubota Spears Funabashi-Tokyo Bay in the title match on May 29 at New National Stadium.

Toshiba will face the loser in the third-place match on May 28 at Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium.

Basketball

Meisei Star Yamazaki will attend Radford University

Ibu Yamazaki, a standout player for Japan at the 2021 FIBA ​​Under-19 Basketball World Cup in Latvia, is taking his basketball skills to Radford University in Virginia, says Highlanders coach Darris Nichols on Tuesday, May 17.

Yamazaki, 18, attended Sendai University’s Meisei High School. He averaged 14.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.1 assists in seven tournament games last summer in Latvia. He scored 32 points against South Korea and 23 against Serbia.

“Ibu is a talented wing shooter who has a ton of FIBA ​​experience,” Nichols said of the 200cm (6ft 7in) Yamazaki, who hails from Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture. “He’s a winner who comes from the same [high school] program that produced Rui Hachimura. We are delighted to have him join our program and the Radford University community.

Radford, an NCAA Division I university in Virginia, is coming off an 11-18 season, including 7-9 in the Big South Conference.

Baseball

Tsutsugo of pirates struggling at the plate

From May 1-18, a total of 13 games, Yoshi Tsutsugo was 6-for-38. His batting average dropped to .167 after the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 3-2 win over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday.

In his last five games in seven days, the former NPB star was 1-for-16 with five strikeouts.

Tsutsugo was batting .172 at the end of April.

Since then, his average peaked at .203 on May 9 after a 2-for-3 outing against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The first baseman signed a one-year contract with Pittsburgh in the offseason.

Marines Hurler Sasaki remains undefeated

Chiba Lotte Marines pitching sensation Roki Sasaki is now 5-0 this season after allowing four hits and one run in six innings on Friday, May 20.

Lotte defeated host Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks 8-1 at PayPay Dome.

Sasaki fanned nine batters and walked two. He also hit a batter. He threw 97 pitches. His fastball frequently reached 164 km/h (101.9 mph).

Before Sasaki threw his first pitch of the night in the bottom half of the first, the Marines were leading 2-0.

Lotte led 4-1 after six innings.

“Because I got so much support at the start of the race, I was able to just focus on throwing,” Sasaki said, according to Kyodo News. “My control wasn’t very good, so I increased my pitch count and couldn’t go deeper into the game.”

Sasaki pitched a perfect game on April 10 against the Orix Buffaloes, striking out 19 batters, including 13 straight.

Akinori Ogata in 2011. (S Pakhrin/CC BY-SA 2.0/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

Car race

Ogata continues to grind daily in pursuit of the dream

Since arriving in the United States in 2003, Akinori Ogata has often worked anonymously in local, regional and lower-level NASCAR divisions. But to this day, he professes his dream of racing in the Daytona 500.

And now, at 48, he is closer to the finish than the start of his racing career. But Ogata’s hard work pays off.

This spring, the Yokohama native won his first three races on American soil.

He scored his first win on April 9 at the iconic Hickory Motor Speedway in Newton, North Carolina in the Limited Late Models division. Halfway through the 35-lap race, Ogata was in first place.

It was a significant achievement for Ogata, who competed in motocross events in Japan before moving overseas.

“Hickory has such a great story behind him”, Ogata says NASCAR.com. “So many pilots started their own careers there. I’m a Japanese rider, but I want to be like the American riders. If I want to run in the [top-tier] Cup Series one day I have to win at local tracks so people know Akinori Ogata is a good driver.

Looking back on that victory, the North Carolina resident said, “It was so great and emotional to see the Americans cheering me on. I never imagined people would be cheering for a Japanese driver, so it was such a great moment to see these people celebrating with me on the track.

Ogata finished third in the Limited Late Models at Hickory on April 23, followed by back-to-back wins on April 30 and May 7 at the same venue.

“Now that I have three wins, I want to try to win the [Limited Late Model] championship at Hickory,” Ogata told NASCAR.com. “I also want to keep improving in NASCAR, but my goal is to keep having great performances everywhere I race.”

In addition to events at Hickory Motor Speedway, Ogata currently competes in NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series and the American stock car racing company’s Xfinity Series, a minor league circuit.

Tennis

Osaka will face Anisimova in the first round of Roland-Garros

American Amanda Anisimova ended Naomi Osaka’s title defense at the Australian Open in January.

The two women will meet in the first round of Roland-Garros, which began on Sunday May 22.

World No. 28 Anisimova beat Osaka 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) in their third-round encounter in Melbourne, ending the latter’s bid for a second straight World Cup title. Australian Open.

Now ranked 38th, Osaka returns to competition after suffering a left Achilles tendon injury in recent weeks. She said she was determined to compete in Paris.

“For me, there’s no way I’m not playing this tournament,” Osaka said at a press conference. “So of course you have to sort of manage things, but at the same time I’m going to take some painkillers, that’s how it is.”

quote of the week

“Through intense fighting throughout the 90 minutes, we were able to [earn] three points at the very end.

―Kawasaki Frontal Defender Shogo Taniguchi after scoring a second-half stoppage-time header to lift the two-time defending J.League champions to a 1-0 away win over Vissel Kobe on May 19.

Author: Ed Odeven

Follow Ed on JAPAN Forward’s [Japan Sports Notebook] here on Sunday, in [Odds and Evens] here during the week, and Twitter @ed_odeven and find it on the JAPAN Forward sports website, SportsLook.

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