Yuka Saso: I am proud of my dual heritage


YUKA SASO sought her fellow Filipinos’ respect on her decision to choose Japanese citizenship when she turns 22 as Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino thanked her for bringing pride and honor for the country on the golf course.

“Thank you for respecting my choice.  I am grateful to both my Filipino and Japanese supporters,” Saso, 20, said in a statement on Thursday. “I would not have achieved anything in my career without your support. I look forward to making you proud as I continue with my professional golfing career.”

The Philippines lost a gem after reigning US Women’s Open champion Saso announced on Wednesday her decision to choose Japanese citizenship when she turns 22 on June 20, 2023.

Japanese laws allow its people with dual citizenship to choose their nationality when they turn 22.

But Saso remained steadfast on her Filipino roots.

“I am a Filipina, born in the Philippines to a Japanese father and Filipino mother,” she added in her statement. “I was raised in both Japan and the Philippines.  I am immensely proud of my dual heritage and that will never change.”

“Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!” she added. “Nihon no minasama kore kara mo yoroshiku onegaishimasu! [To everyone in Japan, thank you for your continued support!].”

Tolentino thanked Saso for having represented the country in major global competitions with a flourish and expressed belief that despite her decision to embrace Japanese citizenship, “she remains a Filipino by heart.”

“Still, she was born here in the Philippines so by heart she represents both,” Tolentino said. “I would like to thank her personally for representing our country for the past years. Her personal business decision will help her develop more as a person and athlete…carrying a Japanese passport for every international tournament helps a lot, imagine no visa needed.”

The International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI), Saso’s principal sponsor in the country, said in a statement that it “respects Yuka’s choice of citizenship.”

“Our support for her goes beyond her citizenship preference because of her outstanding talent and achievements,” the ICTSI statement said. “Yuka has truly evolved to become a global icon, and we are proud to be a part of her journey.”

ICTSI added: “Her unparalleled dedication and determination are in line with ICTSI’s commitment to excel and break barriers.”

Saso was born to a Japanese father and a Filipino mother in San Ildefonso, Bulacan. She won individual and team gold medals at the Jakarta 2018  Asian Games and represented the Philippines at the Tokyo Olympics along with Bianca Pagdanganan and Juvic Pagunsan.

She also won twice on the Japan Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour.

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