Basketballer Yoshida targets SEA Games glory for Singapore
One name sticks out in Singapore's 12-strong women's basketball squad list for next month's SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.
Yukie Yoshida, 27, was born in Singapore, but moved to her father's hometown in Kagoshima, Japan, when she was 10 months old.
She had 21 years to choose between a Singaporean and Japanese citizenship, but when she was 19, she decided to return to her birthplace.
The 1.75m-tall point guard could not string a sentence in English at first, but now speaks Singlish like a local born and bred.
Yoshida, who has a Singaporean mother, told The New Paper: "I wanted to come back to Singapore because I didn't know what I want to do with my life then and Singapore seemed a better and less limited option.
"If I were still living in Japan, I think I'd have stopped playing basketball by now as it'd be tough to balance (sport) with work there."
Assimilating into the local culture proved tough at first, as she couldn't speak fluent English.
Sport, however, transcends language, and her ability on the court certainly helped.
Her talent saw her captain the Institute-Varsity-Polytechnic teams of Nanyang Polytechnic and Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
Yoshida was also a part of the national women's team that finished second-last on home soil in the 2015 SEA Games.
She is certainly loving life in Singapore.
TOUGH AND COMPETITIVE
Said the sports science and management graduate, who is attending NTU's convocation ceremony on Monday (July 31): "The environment in Singapore is really tough and competitive, but I like the culture here and it suits my personality.
"People are more straightforward here whereas in Japan, they are very 'ke qi' (Mandarin for courteous) and always beat around the bush, which I really don't like."
Yoshida and her teammates recently competed at the Fiba Women's Asia Cup, where Singapore finished third in Group B in Bengaluru, India, behind group winners Kazakhstan and second-placed Lebanon.
India won the Division B final against Kazakhstan on Saturday.
Bringing glory to Singapore is the top thing on Yoshida's mind at the moment
She said: "We really felt the difference with home support in the 2015 SEA Games.
"Though it will definitely be tougher in Malaysia (2015 SEA Games champions) this time, we're definitely hoping for a medal."