Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto took a bold step ahead of the Tokyo Olympics by choosing to quit his club, Tonami on May 31. He has revealed the reasons behind his departure.

Nishimoto’s status as a national player remains unchanged even though he has gone independent. Unlike Malaysia or Indonesia, being an independent player in Japan only implies that he is not a part of any club (also employer).

The national team training camp has been delayed due to Covid-19. He has moved from Toyama prefecture to Gifu prefecture to continue his training there.

Quoted from Yahoo.co.jp, Nishimoto said, “I think that I have to be in a challenging situation to be able to develop. I feel the need to strengthen mentally and change my perspective. Actually, I have been thinking about changing the environment for a long time, but haven’t been able to decide yet.”

With the change of environment, Nishimoto hopes for an impact on his playing abilities. He feels that he plays too cautiously and overestimates his opponents.

“I am a type of person who depends on risk assessment, so there are times when I think that I would find myself in trouble if the opponent returns a shot, even in situations where it would be okay to attack without hesitation,” Nishimoto explained.

The 25-year old emphasised on the need to improve his technical aspects of the game as well.

Nishimoto said, “The problem with my play right now is that I cannot overwhelm my opponents with my drives and pushes. Attacking with the full use of my height (180 cms) is my strong point, but I feel it has not been utilized to the maximum.

“I think if my drives and pushes improve, I’ll be able to make better use of my smashes, put pressure on the opponent, and finish it off.”

Nishimoto also expressed his strong desire to be the second men’s single player to represent Japan in the Tokyo Olympics. He is currently ranked 17th in the Olympic qualification rankings behind Kento Momota and Kanta Tsuneyama.

Nishimoto believes that not being in the same club as Tsuneyama (Tonami) will make a difference and help his cause of getting an Olympic ticket.

“If you are on a different team, not only you but the people behind you will support you with the feeling of ‘I will knock down these guys’. So it will be easier for me to concentrate on myself and fight,” he added.