YUKA Saso is back in the Philippines for the first time since her conquest in the US Women’s Open last June. It was also her first time in the country since deciding to represent Japan in international competitions.
Saso, however, assured she will forever be proud of her Filipino lineage.
“I’m super proud of being half Japanese, half Filipino. That will never change. I'll be forever Filipino and Japanese,” said Saso in a press conference organized by her longtime sponsor ICTSI at the Solaire Resort and Casino in Paranaque.
The 20-year-old is slated to compete in two LPGA tournaments in Singapore and Thailand in the coming weeks, and that opened the opportunity for her to come back to the country she represented since she was a jungolfer.
Among her biggest achievements while flying the Philippine flag were winning team and individual gold medals in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and competing in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Yuka explains choice
The San Ildefonso, Bulacan-born golfer said choosing to play for Japan under laws that do not allow dual citizenships beyond the age 22 was a decision she needed to make for convenience in terms of travel.
A Japanese passport, Saso said, will make it easier for her and her team to manage the grueling travel required when she competes in different parts of the world.
Saso said she still maintains a Philippine passport.
“The main reason of choosing the citizenship is the passport... Time management is very important for us athletes. As a team, time management is easier because we travel a lot,” said Saso. “I still have my Philippine passport. It’s just that for my career, I had to do that,” she added.
The 20-year-old Saso said she is grateful to fans who understands her decision.
“I’m super thankful for the Filipino fans and the Japanese fans who are supporting me. That’s very important to me. That helps me a lot. For people who understand my situation, I’m just happy with the support that I get.
"Even though I represent Japan right now, I’m super proud of my dual citizenship being half Japanese and half Filipino. Hopefully, they don’t forget that.
“Even though I represent a different country now doesn’t mean I’m not Filipino anymore. Hopefully, they can still support us going forward and do my best to make everyone proud,” said Saso.
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