Yuka Saso trains sights on Youth Olympic Games gold
“Yung Youth Olympics Games, naka-focus ako ngayon doon,” said Saso, who copped the individual mint in the Indonesia Asiad and joined forces with Lois Go and Bianca Pagdanganan in annexing the team diadem.Joey Mendoza
MANILA, Philippines — Asian Games double gold medalist Yuka Saso looks forward to carrying the fight for Team Philippines anew when she slugs it out with the best in the world Youth Olympic Games next month in Buenos Aires.
“Yung Youth Olympics Games, naka-focus ako ngayon doon,” said Saso, who copped the individual mint in the Indonesia Asiad and joined forces with Lois Go and Bianca Pagdanganan in annexing the team diadem.
The Philippines has earned two slots in golf in the Oct. 6-18 YOG owing to its 24th standing in the world rankings at the end of qualification period and named Saso, 17, and Luis Miguel Castro as its bets.
Saso said she’ll try to enjoy this experience much like how she approached the competition in the Asiad.
“For sure, maraming magagaling na players na sasali, iyung mga nakalaro ko rin po sa Asian Games, nandoon. Main goal ko, siempre, first Olympics ko yun so gusto ko lang mag-enjoy and have fun, no pressure,” she said.
Saso was the winningest Philippine bet in the Asiad, a feat that entitled her to more than P4 million in windfall from the government alone but the amateur golfer declined to keep the bonuses and donated it to the National Golf Association of the Philippines instead. Her teammates did the same.
“Ayoko pong matanggal yung amateur status ko,” Saso explained. “Iyung nag-enjoy ako at nanalo sa Asian Games, sobrang swak na swak na ako. Yung pera na nakukuha ko ido-donate ko sa NGAP para masuportahan yung ibang jungolfers. Masaya po ako na may natulungan na iba.”
Saso is part of a small contingent of Filipinos set to see action in the YOG, joining archer Nicole Tagle, kiteboarder Christian Tio, table tennis bet Jan Mari Nayre, swimmer Nicole Oliva and Fil-Am fencer Lance Tan.