Via Japan Probe comes news that Japan first ever medalist in women’s archery is in fact a naturalized Korean:
Japan‘s Ren Hayakawa wanted to do well against South Korean Ki Bo-bae in the last 16 of the London Olympics archery competition for many reasons, but their countries’ bitter ancient rivalry was not one of them.
Born ‘Um Hye-ryeon’ to South Korean parents in Anyang, south of Seoul, Hayakawa battled to break into the Korean national team for years. She was good, just not good enough to win a spot on a team that have won 13 of the last 14 Olympic women’s archery gold medals since 1984.
The standard line in the archery world is that it’s harder to get on the Korean national team than win an Olympic gold, such is the standard and depth of talent in the country.
With her mother having moved to Japan after remarrying, Hayakawa eventually decided that she would follow and in 2007 took up Japanese citizenship.
While many athletes have changed citizenship in search of sporting success, Hayakawa said her reasons for the decision were due to finance and family.
“I didn’t change my nationality solely for the archery career,” the 24-year-old said during the Games. “I needed to go to university in Japan to be with my sister and my mum.
“Nippon Sport Science University let me go there for my archery talent so I continued to do archery in Japan.” [Reuters]
You can read more at the link or over at Japan Probe.