``I want to put my heart into playing my best on the biggest stage, and I want to play cool.''

The women's basketball world final qualifiers for the Olympic Games were held in Hungary.

In the first game of the final tournament that will determine the ticket to Paris, captain Saki Hayashi led Japan to victory by making six three-point shots against Spain, the fourth-ranked powerhouse in the world.

(Sports News Department reporter Mion Nishioka)

table of contents

  • attention

    ◇◇Interview story◇◇

  • [Basic information] Saki Hayashi player

table of contents

table of contents

  • attention

    ◇◇Interview story◇◇

  • [Basic information] Saki Hayashi player

[Click here for details] Basketball women's team wins against Canada in final qualifying round; qualifies for third consecutive Olympics

The driving force behind the success of the Tokyo Games

Hayashi's greatest strength is his three-point shot.

Tokyo Olympics: Bring your team to victory with a three-point shot

The match that attracted attention was the match against Belgium, with the aim of advancing to the top four at the Tokyo Olympics.

With 16 seconds left in the fourth quarter when Japan was trailing by two points, Hayashi made a three-pointer and won the match.

The team rode on the momentum and made it all the way to the finals, winning their first ever silver medal.

Silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics (Hayashi is second from the left in the back row)

Unexpected downturn...Restarting for Paris

However, the road after that was not smooth.

At the World Cup held one year after the Tokyo Olympics, Japanese basketball was studied and thorough countermeasures were taken, resulting in an unexpected exit from the group stage.

In response to this disappointing result, Hayashi was appointed as the captain of the Japanese national team, which made a fresh start toward the Paris Olympics.

Although he was unable to participate in the World Cup due to injury, he felt the pressure of his role as captain due to the harsh evaluation of the team that struggled.

Saki Hayashi

: ``Even though I won the silver medal, I was thinking what would happen if I didn't get the results.I had a strong feeling that I had the most responsibility, so I felt pressured to get the results somehow.'' ”

Words from a Japanese national team legend that helped me

What saved Hayashi was her encounter with pitcher Yukiko Ueno, who led the Japanese national team as the ace of the women's softball team.

Softball pitcher Yukiko Ueno and Hayashi player

Words from pitcher Ueno became the trigger for Hayashi to change.

``When I asked him, ``I'm feeling quite anxious right now, what would you do in such a situation, Ueno-san?'', he quickly said something along the lines of ``In the end, it's all about getting results,'' so let's focus on that. I thought"

Hayashi now aims to become a captain who can lead the team by proactively communicating with those around him, rather than holding on to pressure.

To become an “unstoppable player”

Furthermore, on the technical side, we are focusing on increasing the play potential.

He has been transferred to a new team this season in the W League, and has been actively practicing his slow and slow movements and handling.

By expanding his range of play beyond his three-point strength, he aims to become a player that is difficult for opponents to defend.

Defeat strong teams one after another in the Olympic world final qualifying round

This is how the final Olympic world qualifying round began.

In the first match against Spain, Hayashi showed great performance.

Three-point shot taken against Spain

He made 6 out of 8 three-pointers for an amazing 75% success rate.

He led the team in scoring with 20 points and led the team to victory in the important first game.

“I was nervous and anxious before the match, but I went into the match thinking I would hit the ball when I got the chance, and I was able to concentrate and take on the challenge.Because I got the first shot, I was able to hit the second one with ease, and everyone They looked like they were really having fun, so I think I had fun playing basketball for 40 minutes."

Qualified for third consecutive Olympics

Although Japan lost to Hungary in the second match, they won the final match against Canada, the world's fifth-ranked powerhouse, and qualified for their third consecutive Olympic Games.

After the final match, Hayashi, who had led the team to this point, had tears in his eyes.

``I wasn't thinking about losing.However, there was a part of me that was worried that it would ruin the history of Japanese basketball up until now.''Still, I believed in everyone on the team and fought, which led to our victory.'' connected"

It was also impressive to see him immediately looking ahead, just as he was relieved that he had decided to participate in the Olympics.

"There were a lot of things that worked, but I also found some things that I needed to practice again. I felt that one shot could be fatal, so I have to improve my shooting ability."

To relieve the frustration of losing to the United States in the finals of the Tokyo Olympics.

Hayashi will continue his journey to Paris with the aim of further improving his level.

Saki Hayashi

: ``When it comes to the Olympics, all I have to do is do it. I want to put my heart into playing my best on the best stage, and I want to play cool.''

  • attention

◇◇Interview story◇◇

Hayashi is impressive because of his serious personality.

On his days off, he revealed that he refreshes himself in various ways, such as taking a lot of naps, cooking, and watching K-pop and audition shows.

On the other hand, during the interview at the cafe, there was a side that was typical of Hayashi.

He watches videos on his smartphone When I asked Hayashi what he was watching, he said it was footage of his next opponent in the W League.

``I like to think about basketball even when I'm not working.When I get to this point, I realize that I really love basketball,'' he said with a laugh.

[Basic information] Saki Hayashi player

▽Born date: March 16, 1995

▽Birthplace: Fukuoka prefecture

▽Height: 1 meter 73 cm

▽Main achievements: Tokyo Olympics silver medal

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