Reika Utsugi
Personal information
Native name宇津木 麗華, Utsugi Reika
Birth name任彦麗, Ren Yanli[1]
NationalityJapanese
Born (1963-06-01) 1 June 1963 (age 60)
Beijing, China
Sport
Country Japan
SportSoftball
Medal record
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 2020 Tokyo Softball
Bronze medal – third place 2004 Athens Softball
Silver medal – second place 2000 Sydney Softball
World Cup
Gold medal – first place 2012 Whitehorse Team
Gold medal – first place 2014 Haarlem Team
Silver medal – second place 2018 Chiba Team
Asian Games
Gold medal – first place 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Team
Gold medal – first place 2014 Incheon Team
Gold medal – first place 2002 Busan Team
Silver medal – second place 1998 Bangkok Team

Reika Utsugi (宇津木 麗華, Utsugi Reika, born 1 June 1963) is a Japanese softball player who played third base. Originally from Beijing, China, she was naturalised as a Japanese citizen in 1995.[2][3] She played in the Japanese teams that won the silver medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics and the bronze medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics, and served as manager of the team that won the gold medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics.[4]

Naturalisation

Utsugi's original name was Ren Yanli and was born in Beijing.[3] Against her father's wishes, she arrived in Japan in 1988 and played for Hitachi Takasaki, which was managed by Taeko Utsugi.[3] She took her manager's name when she naturalised in 1995, becoming Reika Utsugi.[3] Utsugi could not participate in the 1996 Summer Olympics as a Japanese representative, despite being naturalised in 1995. The regulations in the Olympic charter required China to give her permission to play for Japan, as she had changed her nationality within three years of an Olympic event. China refused, realising the competitive threat that Utsugi posed.[3][5] Hence, Utsugi's first Olympic appearance for Japan was in the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Retirement

Since retiring as an athlete she has managed the softball team of Renesas Electronics. She currently manages Bic Camera Takasaki Bee Queen and has managed the Japan women's national softball team since 2011, leading them to two world titles.[2]

References

  1. ^ "アジア女子選手権" [Asian Women's Championship]. 7 February 2016. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Japan softball manager Utsugi targets Olympic gold in 2020". The Japan Times. 21 November 2016. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  3. ^ Reika Utsugi Biography and Olympic Results
  4. ^ Kinohara, Kumi (10 September 2000). "Utsugi ready to fulfill softball dream with Japan". The Japan Times. Retrieved 24 September 2017.