Yukiko Ueno: My love for softball has been my driving force

Yukiko Ueno: My love for softball has been my driving force
07/07/2022
Ueno received the Order of the Golden Diamond at the WBSC Congress: “I believe that my love for softball has been the driving force behind my success to this point.”

Among all the attendees at the IV WBSC Congress held in Taipei, one figure stood out: Yukiko Ueno, one of the greatest softball players in history, was in attendance at the Congress to receive the Order of the Golden Diamond, one of the biggest honours the WBSC bestows.

"I am very happy to receive the Golden Diamond Award,” said Ueno during an interview with the WBSC. “I believe that my love for softball has been the driving force behind my success to this point.” 

The Order of the Golden Diamond recognises those people who have contributed to the development of international baseball and softball and especially for the continuous support, cooperation and assistance to the WBSC through concrete actions and contributions that make possible the widening of the horizons and the innovation and research in the sport.

Ueno’s contribution came from the middle of the diamond, the pitching circle, where she has starred for more than 20 years to lead her native Japan to two Olympic gold medals, one Olympic bronze medal and back to back WBSC World Championships.

Ueno inspired generations of players with her many accomplishments, some of them the biggest in softball history, like her perfect game at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games or her historic performance at Beijing 2008 to win Japan’s first Olympic gold medal. She capped her Olympic career with another gold on home soil at last year's Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

“I will continue to make efforts to contribute to the softball world by accepting the importance of having my achievements recognized around the world,” she said. “I will do my best so to continue being a role-model for children.”

USA softball star and Beijing 2008 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic silver medallist Monica Abbot was also a recipient of the Order of the Golden Diamond but could not attend the WBSC Congress since she is participating in a warm up series of games, including against Japan, ahead of The World Games, which starts on Saturday.