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Softball: Japan icon Yukiko Ueno awarded by WBSC for long-term contributions

Japan's Yukiko Ueno, left, receives the Order of the Golden Diamond from World Baseball Softball Confederation President Riccardo Fraccari in Taipei on July 4, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Japan Softball Association/Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan's softball icon Yukiko Ueno was awarded the Order of the Golden Diamond by the World Baseball Softball Confederation for her years of contributions to the sport during its congress in Taiwan on Monday, the Japan Softball Association said.

    The 39-year-old threw six shutout innings to help Japan beat the United States 2-0 in the Tokyo Olympic final last summer as softball returned to the games for the first time since 2008 in Beijing.

    Ueno was instrumental during that tournament, too, tossing all 28 innings of the semifinals, bronze medal match and final within just two days to guide Japan to its first Olympic gold medal.

    The Fukuoka native also won bronze with Japan at the 2004 Athens Games.

    The WBSC's newly founded award is presented to those who have helped "develop the ideals of baseball/softball" and in recognizing their "outstanding merits in widening the horizons, innovation and research" within the sport.

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