Tokyo Olympian and reigning US Women’s Open Champion Yuka Saso revealed Wednesday her decision to choose the Japanese nationality when she reaches 22 years old in two years’ time.
“It is true that I chose Japanese nationality,” Saso was quoted in an article on a Japanese news website, Sports Nippon, on the eve of the Toto Japan Classic.
“I was wondering if I would choose Japanese nationality in the future. Twenty one years old, I knew that there was a Japanese rule that I had to choose a nationality.”
Saso was referring to the Japanese nationality law that states that people who hold dual citizenships must choose their nationality by the age of 22.
Saso will turn 22 on June 20, 2023.
“I thought I had to decide whether or not there was an Olympics. But whichever I choose, I am both Japanese and Filipino. It is in my heart,” said Saso.
Born in Ildefonso, Bulacan to a Japanese father and a Filipino mother, Saso has been representing the Philippines for the past years.
Among her early notable campaigns were Team PH’s golden feat in the 2016 World Junior Girls Championship team event and the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia where she won the individual gold and the team gold with Bianca Pagdanganan and Lois Kaye Go.
She also participated in the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, Argentina and has carried the Philippine flag since turning pro in November 2019.
While this comes as a big blow to the Philippine team, Saso will still continue to play for Team PH until the nationality is finalized.
Meanwhile, Saso seeks to eclipse last year’s runner-up finish at the Toto Japan Classic in Shiga Prefecture starting Thursday.