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Tuesday, 24th July 2012
In Japan Sports News,

Japanese athletes arrive in London for Games

Japan's Olympic hopefuls arrived in London on Sunday (July 22nd) to a welcome reception at Heathrow Airport.

Among the troupe was badminton player Reiko Shiota, weightlifter Hiromi Miyake and judo expert Takamasa Anai, Kyodo News revealed.

This summer marks the 100th year that Japan has competed in the Games, which were first held in Ancient Greece in around 776 BC.

Since then the Olympics has become a global sensation, with few countries failing to take up the challenge to compete among the world's best sports stars.

Shiota, who is set to retire from badminton in September, remained optimistic about her final Games.

She was quoted as saying: "It's so nice that people come here to welcome us. It makes me feel how special the Olympics are."

The UK capital has been gearing up for the competition over the past year, with tourists from all corners of the earth expected to show up to the opening ceremony on Friday.

Judo star Anai is determined to prove his worth at the Olympics by taking the top honour for his sport.

He was quoted as saying: "I came to London to get the gold medal. Everyone is fired up.

"There's an excellent atmosphere in the team. Now it is just a case of getting the job done."

Kyodo also reported that international footballer Maya Yoshida has been named as the captain of the Japanese squad for the competition.

The men's team has experienced little success, with its last podium position occurring at the Mexican Games in 1968.

Yoshida and the Japanese side will endeavour to secure some glory at this year's Games, with the team having fought hard in Beijing in 2008.

According to Kyodo, the captain said: "We're carrying the Japanese flag, and we cannot allow ourselves to play as pathetically as we did last time."

Controversy arose last week when it was revealed the women's soccer team - the World Cup champions - flew premium economy on their journey to the Olympics while their male counterparts enjoyed a business class flight.

Posted by Graham McPherson

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