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Monday, 21st May 2012
In Japan Sports News, Sports,

Japan use 'rice ball' for Olympic football training

With the London Olympics less than 70 days away, the Japanese men's football team have come up with an ingenious way to hone their skills.

The Samurai Blue are training with triangular-shaped 'rice balls' that bounce unpredictably as they look to sharpen their reflexes and fine-tune their reactions ahead of the big tournament.

Inspired by 'ongiri' rice balls that are triangular in shape and wrapped in seaweed, the 2011 Asian Cup champions used the balls in a goalkeeper training practice last weekend, Reuters reported.

Speaking to the Nikkan Sports newspaper, Hisanori Fujiwara, the team's goalkeeping coach, said: "The ball is irregular in shape so it behaves irregularly through the air too. It sharpens reactions and helps improve concentration."

Shot-stopper Takuya Masuda added that he found the session "good practice" and hopes that he can apply what he learned during matches.

Japan will open their tournament against one of the favourites, Spain, in a group D match on July 26th. They will then face Honduras and Morocco.

Written by Graham McPherson

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