TOKYO (January 14) – Olympic and world champion Saori Yoshida accepted the prestigious Japan Sports Award from the Yomiuri Shimbun for 2010, saying she wants to keep winning in 2011.
Yoshida, who won her 10th world and Olympic crown in 2010, will try for her ninth world championship title in Istanbul in September and qualify for her third straight Olympic Games.
Yoshida, winning the award for a second time, received a diploma and trophy along with 2 million yen in prize money. The Japan Wrestling Federation also received 3 million yen in support money.
“I think the dreams and hopes and expectations of a lot of people have been answered,” Yoshida told the audience at the Hotel Okura in central Tokyo. “Winning my 10th world title last year made it the best year. And, this year I hope to win every tournament I enter and earn my ticket to the Olympics.”
When asked about the prize money, Yoshida said that she planned to put it into her savings account “to use when I need it.” Then, pressed on what she hoped for most, Yoshida answered “a boyfriend!” — touching off a wave of laughter in the audience.
In addition to the award to Yoshida, the Yomiuri presented a special Olympic prize to figure skater Daisuke Takahashi, a bronze medal winner at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, and an encouragement prize to sprinter Chisato Takahashi, who won the women's 100 and 200 meters at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.
In the evening, Yoshida and fellow world champions Hitomi Sakamoto and Kaori Icho received special awards from TV Asahi. Yuki Takahashi and Yu Miyahara, winners in the inaugural Youth Olympics, received special newcomer awards.